The International Dairy Foods Association applauded chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, on the breadth and scope of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The bipartisan bill strengthens federal child nutrition programs by requiring that science-based nutrition standards apply to all food and beverages in schools and by increasing the funding available to provide healthy school meals. The federal child nutrition programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

"We value the exceptional leadership that chairman Lincoln is providing to improve the health of our nation's children," said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based IDFA. "This legislation recognizes the nutritional importance of dairy products for school-age children and ensures that schools offer milk varieties that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

Because milk is an excellent source of nine essential nutrients and vitamins, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children ages nine to 18 consume three servings a day of low-fat or fat-free milk or dairy products, including yogurt and cheese. Milk consumption per capita is declining, particularly among middle- and high school-age children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that most American children fail to meet the recommended dairy servings. The government also reports that only 5% of girls and 25% of boys ages nine to 13 get the calcium they need.

The bill provides $4.5 billion in new child nutrition program funding over 10 years. It is paid for through cost savings in other federal programs and aims to ensure that eligible children are participating in the programs, improve the quality of meal benefits and modernize and improve the integrity of the programs.

About the International Dairy Foods Association
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110 billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.

Peggy Armstrong