HARRISBURG (April 5, 2022) Recognizing the nutritional value of whole milk and its economic value to our dairy farmers, Sen. Michele Brooks introduced legislation to allow whole milk to once again be served in Pennsylvania schools. Her legislation was just approved by the Senate Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee today.
Since 2010, only skim and one-percent milk have been served in schools, as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity efforts, contained in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. After her changes were implemented, milk sales and consumption plummeted. In fact, in the first two years after this measure was enacted, 1.2 million fewer students drank milk with their lunch, yet they still had access to sugary drinks that offered no nutritional value, effectively defeating the purpose of her ban.
Senate Bill 1181 will allow Pennsylvania whole milk to be served in Pennsylvania schools once again, Brooks said. She noted that milk production involves intrastate commerce in Pennsylvania, not interstate, and thus should be left to the state, not the federal government, to regulate.
“In the aftermath of Michelle Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, we have lost a generation of milk drinkers. Many schoolchildren don’t like the taste of skim or one-percent milk, leading to so much milk being dumped in school cafeteria trash cans or left unpurchased. It is time we reverse the misinformation of the past decade-and-a-half and give parents and children back the ability to decide whether whole milk is right for them and their family.”
According to testimony offered by Jayne Sebright of the Center for Dairy Excellence, milk is the single best food source for calcium, potassium and vitamin D, nutrients many children and adults are most lacking in their diets. According to testimony by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, whole milk only contains 3.5% fat or less, and one-third of milk’s fatty acids are Omega-3, which have been linked to many health benefits, including improved heart and brain health, and a lower risk of cancer. In a well-balanced diet, this fat can contribute to the energy that supports cell growth. Other health benefits of milk include improved bone health, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
CONTACT: Diane McNaughton