Faso Highlights New USDA Rule Allowing Flavored Milk in Schools

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Washington, April 11, 2018 | comments

Washington D.C. – Congressman John Faso (R-Kinderhook), today, highlighted the upcoming implementation date of a rule published by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service that will give schools flexibility in menu planning by allowing for flavored, low-fat milk to be served to students. Dairy product consumption is linked to improved bone health and is especially important during childhood and adolescence, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Schools will not need to seek a waiver to offer the new choice.

Rep. Faso sent a letter to school superintendents in the 19th district to inform them of the upcoming rule change.

“Low-fat milk, including flavored milk, is an important part of a child’s diet and we should do what we can to promote consumption of this nutritious option,” said Faso. “I’m glad the USDA is moving ahead with implementing the rule and giving Upstate schools more flexibility in providing healthy choices.”

The milk offering is covered as part of the National School Lunch Program, Special Milk Programs for Children, School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Background

In late April 2017, Congressman Faso led a letter to Secretary Perdue urging the Department to provide schools with more flexibility in offering flavored milk as part of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

Additionally, Congressman Faso serves as a co-sponsor of the bipartisan H.R. 4101 – the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017, legislation that would allow schools to offer low-fat flavored milk.

In November, Rep. Faso and local dairy officials highlighted the announcement of the upcoming rule change.

Text of the letter

Dear Superintendent,

As your school district develops menus for the upcoming school year, I wanted to ensure you were aware of a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule that grants local school programs more access to nutritious dairy milk products. 

The interim rule, which will take effect July 1, 2018, was published by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service to give schools flexibility in menu planning through the 2018-2019 school year.  Specifically, schools will have the option to serve flavored, low-fat (1%) milk to K-12 students in their lunch programs.  Schools do not need to seek a waiver to offer flavored, low-fat milk, which will be covered as part of a Child Nutrition Program including the National School Lunch Program, Special Milk Program for Children, School Breakfast Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

As you are aware, milk consumption is positively correlated with diet quality, and in Upstate New York, choosing to serve flavored dairy milk at school supports more than just healthy students.  Our local dairy farmers have suffered under the USDA’s restrictive school lunch guidelines, but this new rule presents an opportunity to reinvigorate the dairy market and increase milk sales if our local schools choose to participate.

I first urged the USDA to pursue this change in April of 2017, and as its implementation is now on the horizon, I ask that you consider offering flavored low-fat milk in your school districts.  Your participation will go a long way towards nutritious lunches, healthy students, relief for dairy farmers, and jobs in Upstate New York.  As you consider this new addition to your local school lunch program, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office should you have any questions.  Thank you for your dedication to our students and leadership in our local communities.

Sincerely,

John J. Faso

Member of Congress

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