|NEWS RELEASE |
For Immediate Release
|Contact: ||Susan Ruland (IDFA): 202-220-3549 Chris Galen (NMPF): 703-243-6111 |
Dairy Industry Warns About Nutrition Consequences of Proposed Rulefor the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Food Packages
(Washington, D.C. — August 7, 2006) The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), the leading U.S. dairy industry trade associations, expressed concern today over a proposal that would cut the availability of affordable, nutrient-rich milk and milk products to disadvantaged families under the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental feeding program.
The proposed rule was issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); IDFA and NMPF will further express their concerns during the 90-day comment period that begins today.
"We're disappointed that budgetary constraints are leading USDA to a decision to cut the amount of dairy foods available to some of our neediest Americans," said NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak. "Even under the current program, many WIC participants do not get recommended levels of key nutrients that are easily included in the diet with milk and cheese products. Those levels would be further diminished under this proposal."
"In its 2005 Dietary Guidelines, USDA recognized the need for women and children to get more calcium, potassium and magnesium in their diets; this proposal moves us in the opposite direction," added IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton. "There is a very real, negative nutritional effect that a reduction in dairy servings would have on program participants."
USDA proposed the changes based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to the WIC package. In an effort to maintain the same program cost, USDA has proposed reducing the amount of dairy and other food products.
According to data from USDA and IOM, WIC program participants already often lack adequate levels of key nutrients like calcium, potassium and magnesium, which are readily found in one source: dairy products.
"WIC participants will not be able to achieve a healthy diet on dairy foods alone, but certainly cutting back on dairy only aggravates the problem," noted Tipton. Calcium intake is significantly inadequate for women participants in WIC across all age groups, and magnesium deficiencies are almost universal among 14-to-18-year-old participants. Milk and cheese are leading sources of calcium and magnesium in the diet.
While calcium intake for children ages 1-4 is adequate in the WIC program, their intake of potassium is consistently below adequate levels. That finding is true for all groups of women in the WIC program, as well. Milk is a leading source of potassium in the U.S. diet.
IDFA and NMPF will be highlighting these and other ramifications of the proposal in detailed comments to USDA.
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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC, represents the nation's dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 530 companies representing a $90-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% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at www.idfa.org
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out programs and policies that advance the well-being of U.S. dairy producers and the cooperatives they collectively own. The members of NMPF's 34 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of nearly 50,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more on NMPF's activities, visit our website at www.nmpf.org.