IDFA applauded Chairman George Miller (D-CA) (pictured), U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor, on the introduction this week of a bipartisan bill to reauthorize and improve the federal government's child nutrition programs. The bill, called "Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act," was co-sponsored by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), chair of the Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, and Todd Platts (R-PA), ranking member.
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.
Much like a similar bill that passed the Senate Agriculture Committee last spring, the Miller bill would require school milk to be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, it calls for similar nutrition standards to apply to all food and beverages sold in schools.
"The nutrition standards in the bill are very important to encourage milk consumption in schools," said Ruth Saunders, IDFA vice president of policy and legislative affairs. "Milk consumption among middle and high school-age children has plummeted because schools are offering fewer varieties of milk, but they are increasing the availability of less nutritious beverages. This legislation recognizes the nutritional importance of dairy products for school-age children and ensures that schools offer milk varieties and that competitive beverages are subject to nutrition standards whereas today there are not."
The Miller bill would provide $8 billion in new child nutrition program funding over 10 years, allowing an increase in the federal subsidy to cover the costs of the meal program and for several new programs. Other provisions in the bill would require a study of marketing programs in school cafeterias and a pilot program to promote energy improvements and savings through packaging and recycling.
More details are available here.