Contact: Peggy Armstrong
(Washington, D.C. -- August 5, 2010) The International Dairy Foods Association applauded the leadership of Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, on the passage of child nutrition legislation that strengthens federal feeding programs. The federal child nutrition programs include the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
"This legislation recognizes the nutritional importance of dairy products for school-age children and ensures that schools offer low-fat and nonfat milk varieties to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans," said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. "In addition, the bill mandates consistent nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold or provided in schools."
The legislation, S. 3307, will give the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to set nutrition standards for beverages sold in a la carte lines and vending machines in schools. In Senate testimony in 2009, IDFA urged legislators to establish consistent nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available in schools and to assure the standards are grounded in the Dietary Guidelines.
Because milk is an excellent source of nine essential nutrients and vitamins, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that children ages 9 to 18 consume three servings a day of low-fat or nonfat milk or dairy products, including yogurt and cheese. Milk consumption per capita is declining, particularly among middle and high school-age children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that most American children fail to meet the recommended dairy servings. The government also reports that only 5 percent of girls and 25 percent of boys ages 9 to 13 get the calcium they need.
The bill provides $4.5 billion in new child nutrition program funding over 10 years and will be paid for through cost savings in other federal programs. It aims to ensure that eligible children are participating in the programs, to improve the quality of meal benefits, and to modernize and improve the integrity of the programs.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies representing a $110-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA's 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.