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Members of Congress press NYC mayor to keep milk in schools

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A bipartisan letter from Democratic Rep. Antonio Delgado and eight other congressional members from New York encourages New York City Mayor Eric Adams not to eliminate flavored milk from New York City school meals.

In the letter, the members of Congress state: “As Members representing both rural and urban communities, we are committed to supporting the dairy farmers, producers, and agriculture partners across New York, while also ensuring that children in NYC schools have access to critical, life-enhancing nutrients. Unfortunately, for many NYC families, the meals children receive in schools are their only source of many recommended nutrients.”

The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association responded in support of the letter.

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, said, “Dairy farmers across the country have long worked to provide children with nutritious food vital to their health and development. Kids need access to milk for that benefit to be realized. Low-fat flavored milk is fully consistent with the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and it provides students one of the most complete nutrient packages around. We thank Congressman Delgado for leading this strong message to the Mayor of New York, and we thank all New York lawmakers who are stepping up to protect the flavored milk option and the key role it plays in ensuring students have access to highly nutritious options they will choose to consume.”

A recent national tracking poll conducted by Morning Consult commissioned by IDFA found that 8 in 10 New York City and U.S. voters support offering low-fat flavored milk in school meals. Support among parents with children in public school is markedly higher, with 90 percent of New York City parents and 85 percent of parents nationally sharing the same belief.

Elsewhere, organizations such as 97milk have been stepping up their fight to go even further and get whole fat milk allowed into schools again. They aren’t fighting to get it back into schools just because it tastes better, but also because it could have huge positive impacts on kids in school.

97milk believes that if whole milk is offered to kids in school, consumption will rise, and the cravings for sugary foods and drinks will lower. Still, grabbing any milk is always better than grabbing sugary drinks!

Weakened participation in school meals is a silent but growing crisis for our kids, said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of IDFA. “For children, school meals are by far the healthiest meal of the day. Offering more milk options in school plays an important role in the diet and nutrition of children because milk contains 13 essential nutrients that children need for growth, development, healthy immune function, and overall wellness. The low-fat flavored milk offered in schools today contains 50 percent less added sugar and 40 fewer calories than it did a decade ago with all the same nutrition benefits our kids need. Rather than trying to limit school milk options for kids, policymakers should follow the lead of parents, physicians, and school meals professionals who want to do what’s best for child nutrition.” 

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