IDFA News Release: Statement from Michael Dykes, DVM, on USDA School Meals Proposed Rule

WASHINGTON —Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement today in support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule that would maintain flexibility in USDA child nutrition program meal requirements related to milk:

“According to the federal government, American children and adolescents over four years old are not consuming enough dairy to meet federal dietary recommendations. Yet, over the past several years, the varieties of milk that can be offered to kids in school have been reduced. First, whole milk disappeared; then 2%; and then finally 1% flavored milk which kids prefer compared to non-fat flavored milk. As a result, we’re losing a generation of milk drinkers and pushing kids toward less healthy options including soft drinks, juices and/or caffeinated beverages. None of these replacements compare to the nutritional advantages of milk. That’s why IDFA is pleased to see USDA propose changes to bring low-fat flavored milk back to school nutrition programs.

“It has been proven time and again in schools across the country that when schools offer flavored milks, kids not only drink more milk—they are more likely to participate in the school meal programs and waste less food, acquiring more vitamins and nutrients. In fact, about 73 percent of the calcium available in the food supply is provided by milk and milk products. Milk is the top source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin D in the diet of children 2-18 years. It’s clear that low-fat flavored milk is highly nutritious, offering vitamins and minerals all kids need and most kids lack.”