WASHINGTON — On February 21st, Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Kim Schrier (D-WA) along with 36 members re-introduced the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023. The bill would allow unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered again in schools.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 did not adhere to science-based nutritional facts regarding milk. Medical research has proven that whole milk has several health benefits, such as strong bone density, reducing cardiovascular risk, lowering blood pressure, reducing type 2 diabetes risk, and increased sleep quality. Congress’ intent was to reduce childhood obesity, yet high sugar and simple carbohydrates are still permitted. Those types of food and beverage items are the true causes of childhood obesity.
If Congress wants to improve our youth’s nutritional intake, then whole milk should be offered in schools. Whole milk is 97 fat-free and contains 13 essential nutrients for healthy growth and development. Previously mentioned are the various health benefits whole milk has as well. It is an invalid argument to say the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed in an attempt to reduce childhood obesity because whole milk would not have been eliminated in school cafeterias, if that was the case.
Finally, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act of 2010 has placed a devastating effect on the economic state of PA’s dairy industry. PA’s dairy industry generates almost $15 billion in annual revenue and more than 52,000 jobs. Since whole milk’s removal from school cafeterias in 2010, the dairy industry has seen a drastic decline in fluid milk consumption, which has impacted producers’ income.
The fat is what gives milk its flavor. Children are less likely to choose skim milk because its flavor and nutrition has been stripped away. Class I or bottled fluid milk is the highest paying class, so when less fluid milk is being consumed, producers are losing income. For childhood nutrition and economic benefits, it is imperative the 118th Congress pass the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau sent out an action alert this week regarding the bill to get members of the U.S. House to consider co-sponsoring the bill. To send a message to your legislator, click here.
–Pennsylvania Farm Bureau