NYC Council Member Calls for More Milk Choices in City Schools
IDFA commended New York City Council Member Bill de Blasio for introducing a resolution last week asking the city's Department of Education to reassess its decision to limit milk choices in public schools. The resolution and its attendant coverage in prominent New York media outlets mark a major milestone in the industry's efforts to get more varieties of milk back in the schools.
"The introduction of this resolution marks the culmination of many months of coordinated effort by IDFA, the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council (ADADC) and key companies in the industry," said Chip Kunde, IDFA senior vice president.
Last fall, department officials directed all city schools to serve only lowfat and fat-free white milk, allowing only some schools to offer fat-free chocolate milk on special occasions. Previously, a wide variety of milk was available, including lowfat chocolate and strawberry, and now the schools report that milk consumption has decreased 5% since the new restrictions took effect.
"We need to know what this change is doing to milk consumption," de Blasio told the New York Daily News. "My fear is if you give kids less choices, they'll drink less milk and get fewer nutrients."
Over the past five months, IDFA has worked with ADADC in New York and several industry members to raise awareness of the department's decision, which did not receive public discussion or review, and to find ways to build support for rescinding the mandate. This group met with Department of Education officials, brought in experts to testify, and reached out to community groups and the city council, each time stressing the importance of adding more milk choices to improve nutrition and consumption.
De Blasio's resolution and a news release from IDFA garnered several mentions in the New York media last week, including a positive article in the New York Daily News, a segment on a local FOX-TV affiliate, and an upcoming interview with de Blasio on National Public Radio. To read the article, click here.
The IDFA/ADADC/industry member working group currently is building a coalition of third-party experts, comprised of pediatricians, nutritionists and other health professionals, to maintain momentum and continue to press school officials to allow more flavors and types of milk back into the New York City schools.
To read IDFA's press release, click here.
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Posted May 1, 2006