IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation urged leaders of the House Committee on Ways and Means to reject a proposal to impose a federal excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages including flavored milks. The tax was included in a list of revenue options that could be used to fund proposals to reform health care.
"Taxing food is not an appropriate way to finance health care reform," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO, and Jerry Kozak, NMPF president and CEO, in the letter. "Given the many health benefits of flavored milks, these beverages support good health and their consumption should be encouraged, not discouraged by a federal excise tax."
A joint letter was sent to Representatives Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Dave Camp (R-MI), chairman and ranking Republican, respectively, on the House Committee on Ways and Means, with copies to committee members. It details the numerous nutritional benefits of flavored milk and highlights why legislators should be concerned with falling consumption rates.
A similar letter was sent last month to the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee. Although the idea of taxing sweetened beverages did gain momentum there, it is under serious consideration in the House of Representatives. IDFA sent an issue alert to its membership last week asking that they contact their Washington representatives in opposition to this proposal.
"Children and adolescents are drinking less milk - a troubling trend that's been identified as one potential reason for chronic calcium shortages and the rising rates of obesity among America's youth," the letter states. "Flavored lowfat or fat-free milk is an excellent way to increase milk consumption."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 66 percent of the milk chosen by kids in school is flavored, and 90 percent is lowfat or fat-free.
To read the letter, click here.