Peggy Armstrong, (202) 220-3508, email@example.com
(Washington, D.C. – July 17, 2012) Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, issued the following statement on USDA’s successful expansion of its HealthierUS Schools Challenge program. Dairy products are an important part of the program’s nutrition standards.
“We applaud USDA for its success in certifying more than 3,700 schools in the HealthierUS School Challenge to boost the health and nutrition of the nation's schoolchildren. This includes nearly 1,500 more schools than the original program goal.
“We are encouraged by the success of the program because milk and dairy play an important role in providing essential nutrition to school-age children. Milk consumption among youth has declined in past years and these efforts will encourage more milk consumption and better overall health.
“We also recognize the participating schools for voluntarily adopting USDA standards to improve their food and beverage offerings, as well as set supportive school wellness standards that teach students about nutritious food choices and physical activity and provide opportunities for exercise.
“Each of these steps is important in helping create a new generation of healthier Americans.”
The HealthierUS Schools Challenge program criteria requires that schools serve only healthy beverage choices which USDA has defined as low-fat and fat-fat milk, 100 percent fruit juice, and non-sweetened, non-carbonated water. These recommendations also include an increase in low-fat dairy products among the updated nutrition standards for school meals.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), headquartered in 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.