Milk’s Availability Widens in Schools

Dairy processors and producers applaud Congress for changes to national nutrition program.
The new Child Nutrition Act, which includes two important provisions to expand milk’s availability to American schoolchildren through programs such as the National School Lunch Program, took effect when President Bush signed the bill June 30.
The first milk-related provision relaxes restrictions placed on schools regarding milk selections on the school lunch line. Schools may now expand the varieties of milk based on what they believe are the best offerings for the student body, including flavored milk, lactose-free milk and milk of varying fat levels. The bill requires that at least two different milk options be offered.
The second provision gives schools the authority to offer milk at anytime and anywhere on school premises or at school events, precluding future exclusivity clauses in soft drink vending contracts. The legislation does not apply to existing soft drink contracts.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have joined together to hail both houses of Congress on adopting this legislation.
“With this action, Congress has made it a federal priority to get more milk to kids more often — in the lunchroom and anywhere in the school where beverages are offered,” says Connie Tipton, IDFA president and chief executive officer. “Schools will have much more flexibility in offering different varieties of milk that appeal to their students.”
NMPF president and chief executive officer Jerry Kozak adds: “Congress has shown that children’s health comes first. We commend the many congressional leaders who helped milk retain and bolster its important role as a nutritional cornerstone of the school lunch program and in child nutrition.”