WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07), joined by seven members of Congress, introduced H.R. 3930, the Milk is Indisputably Liked by Kids Act of 2023 – or MILK Act for short. This legislation would amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to require schools to offer flavored milk under the school lunch program.
Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is considering banning chocolate milk from elementary and middle schools. This comes after the USDA issued a proposed rule in February that would se new nutrition standards for school meals, including limiting added sugars and sodium. If implemented, the new standards proposed could limit the amount of flavored milk, such as chocolate and strawberry, in high schools while children in elementary and middle schools would be restricted to a variety of unflavored milk.
“Out of all the crises the Biden administration should be focused on, how did chocolate milk in school lunches become public enemy number one? Chocolate milk is full of rich nutrients that support bone growth and development, and millions of children enjoy drinking it. From the looks of things, maybe instead of trying to cancel chocolate milk, President Biden ought to drink a carton or two,” said Congressman Tiffany.
“Providing our children access to a healthy, complete and nutritious product such as flavored milk is the fundamental basis to maintain a healthy diet. It is preposterous to think that the USDA would limit access to flavored milk for school children. Flavored milk is nutritious, healthy, tastes great and children love it. Millions of children rely on the nutrition from milk that is essential to help them grow and develop. We applaud Congressman Tiffany and the other cosponsors for bringing common sense back to the school lunch program. Their leadership is appreciated because it’s high time that USDA is reminded their proposed standards are out of line. Flavored milk must stay in the school lunch program,” said Brody Stapel, President of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.
“Flavored milk options are critical components of healthy school meals because they deliver 13 essential nutrients that children need for growth, development, healthy immune function, mental health, and overall wellness, and they deliver all of these benefits in a package that children love to consume. Parents, school meal professionals, nutritionists, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans all support including low-fat flavored milk in public schools. They know—and the data show—that when low-fat flavored milk is taken off the menu, school milk consumption declines, school meal participation declines, and more food gets wasted. IDFA is grateful to Rep. Tiffany for introducing the MILK Act and leading this effort to ensure flavored milk remains available to children of all grade levels,” said Dr. Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association.
"Drinking flavored milk helps children meet the recommended three daily servings of dairy while providing key nutrients for growth and development. Children who drink flavored milk are likely to consume more of those nutrients compared to unflavored milk consumers. Children across the country should have the option to choose the most flavorful milk options available. Wisconsin Farm Bureau supports Rep. Tiffany’s MILK Act to ensure children have access to nutritious flavored milk,” said Kevin Krentz, Wisconsin Farm Bureau President.
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, as well as a 50 percent reduction in 6th through 8th grades.
The Biden administration’s proposed new nutrition standards will affect roughly 30 million students who participate in the USDA's school meal programs.
Cosponsors of the MILK Act include: Reps. Jim Banks (IN-03), Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Ronny Jackson (TX-13), Andy Ogles (TN-05), Scott Perry (PA-10), and Derrick Van Orden (WI-03).
The MILK Act is also supported by the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, International Dairy Foods Association, and Wisconsin Farm Bureau.