WASHINGTON, DC -- Yesterday, Rep. Tom Tiffany’s (R-WI) and Gabe Vasquez's (D-NM) bipartisan amendment to prevent the Biden administration from banning chocolate milk in schools passed the House by voice vote and was included in H.R. 1147, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023.
Specifically, Tiffany’s amendment would prevent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from issuing any rule that bans varieties of milk covered by this bill, including chocolate milk. In February, the Biden administration proposed a rule that would restrict flavored milk in school lunchrooms.
Earlier this year, Rep. Tiffany introduced H.R. 3930, the Milk is Indisputably Liked by Kids (MILK) Act of 2023. The MILK Act would amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to ensure continued student access to flavored milk.
The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023 now awaits action in the U.S. Senate.
Rep. Tiffany’s floor remarks can be found here as well as below.
“My bipartisan amendment prevents the USDA from issuing any rule that bans any of the milk covered in this bill, including chocolate milk. This would ensure that all types and flavors of milk are available to school children and not subject to bureaucratic rulemaking.
“Some may ask why we are focusing on this issue. Unfortunately, it’s because the USDA has its sights on getting rid of chocolate milk in schools. It is now up to us to act.
“This summer it was reported that the Department of Agriculture is considering a ban on chocolate milk in elementary and middle schools. USDA issued a proposed rule that would set new nutrition standards for school meals.
“These new standards could limit the availability of flavored milk, like chocolate and strawberry, in high schools while children in elementary and middle schools would have no access at all.
“For those of you with young children or grandchildren, go and ask them what they think about USDA’s new rule. I think I can speak for most folks when saying that when I was young, chocolate milk was usually the highlight of having lunch at school.
“But this new rule would mean that the roughly 30 million students who participate in the USDA’s school meal programs would no longer be able to have chocolate milk, or any flavored milk for that matter.
“According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, removing flavored milk from schools resulted in a 62-63 percent reduction in milk consumption by kids in kindergarten through 5th grade, including a 50 percent reduction in 6th through 8th grades.
“Milk is full of rich nutrients that support bone growth and development, and millions of children enjoy drinking it. We should not allow rules that would limit our children’s access to delicious and nutritious products like milk and its varieties covered in this great bill.
“Come and Take It, USDA!”