IDFA and four other organizations sent letters earlier this month to key congressional leaders asking them to evaluate the nutritional quality of the federal school lunch programs. In particular, the groups suggested amending the National School Lunch Act to help schools ensure that lowfat or fat-free milk is offered to students.
The act currently states that lunches served by participating schools "shall offer students fluid milk in a variety of fat contents." IDFA and the other groups recommend amending the act to "shall offer a variety of fluid milk consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans."
The letters were sent to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee; Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), members of the agriculture committee; and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chair of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. Each of these legislators will play an important role in the reauthorization the Child Nutrition Act, which will expire later this year.
IDFA teamed with these other organizations to offer a united dairy position on the continued importance of milk in the diets of schoolchildren: the American Dietetic Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the National Milk Producers Federation and the School Nutrition Association.
Congress may have trouble completing the reauthorization process this year, however, because it's dealing with so many competing priorities, such as health care and food safety. IDFA believes legislators may have to enact a short-term extension of existing programs covered by the Child Nutrition Act for provisions that will expire in October.
For more information, contact Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs, at email@example.com or (202) 220-3553.