House GOP wants to add whole milk to school lunch
(District of Columbia) Last year the Trump administration rolled back many of the nutritional goals imposed by former President Barak Obama on the national school lunch program.
Now a growing band of House Republicans are looking to return whole milk to student menus.
“After speaking with dairy farmers across the district, I learned how important it was for the stability of our farmers and economy to ensure whole milk was sold at schools,” said Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., in a statement.
“Studies have shown that kids who drink whole milk tend to have higher vitamin D levels than those who consume low-fat milk,” she said. “This bill will ensure our growing children get the proper nutrition and will help our dairy farmers struggling with stagnant milk prices.”
Tenney is the latest co-sponsor of H.R. 5640, which also has the support of James Comer and Elise Stefanik, both from New York; as well as David Valadao of California and Sean Duffy of Wisconsin.
Current rules of the child nutrition program, overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture limit schools to offering either low-fat or fat free milk and flavored milk that is no more than 1 percent fat.
Under legislation signed by President Obama in 2010, LEAs were required to reduce the amount of sugar and sodium served in school meals while also adding more fruit and vegetables.
A year ago, Trump’s Agriculture Secretary, Sonny Purdue, scaled back healthy lunch standards by delaying additional reductions in the amount of sodium used in school meals and by extending a deadline on schools serving whole-grains and lower fat milk for at least three years.
The whole milk exception was also included as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, which stalled earlier this year because of infighting among Republicans over disputes on farm subsidies although a recent compromise might resurrect the bill.
Demand for milk across the U.S. had declined in recent years as families move to lower-calories options. At the same time, however, production has generally increased and thus created a glut on the market and depressed prices.
That’s one reason that President Trump chose to pick a fight over dairy tariffs with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Dairy farmers say that bringing back whole milk to the schools would be a big step forward.
“There’s more nutritional value for a growing body in whole milk,” dairy farmer Ben Simons told the Times Telegram earlier this month. “Whole milk is not a problem. When you start skimming it down, you’re taking away a lot of those nutrients that a young body needs to grow.”