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IDFA Commends USDA for Highlighting Importance of Dairy for Children in Proposed Rule on Competitive Foods in Schools

Feb 01, 2013

Contact: Peggy Armstrong                           

(202) 220-3508

(Washington, D.C. – February 1, 2013) The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its efforts to encourage students to consume the daily recommended requirements of milk and dairy as part of its “Smart Snacks in Schools” proposed rule, which USDA unveiled today.  The rule will regulate the food and beverages offered in schools through a la carte lunch lines or in vending machines. 

“We applaud USDA for highlighting the importance of dairy in children's diets and taking the necessary steps to help kids meet the dietary recommendations for milk and dairy products,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. "The proposed rule would make low-fat and fat-free milk available in a variety of locations, not just the school lunch line."

The proposed rule aligns with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to USDA, the proposed rule draws on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, existing voluntary standards already implemented by thousands of schools around the country, and healthy food and beverage offerings already available in the marketplace.

“The dairy industry has worked diligently to reformulate the foods and snacks that kids enjoy, including flavored milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream, to provide more options in schools,” said Tipton. 

For example, the industry has formulated reduced-fat and reduced-sodium cheese for use in schools. Innovative packaging for many products helps students with portion control. Milk processors have made strides in reducing added sugar in flavored milks, while other popular foods in schools, including yogurt, ice cream and frozen desserts, have been reformulated to reduce sugars and fats.

IDFA looks forward to the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule during the comment period.

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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. 

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