The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act on Dec. 13 with a commanding 330-99 margin, demonstrating compelling bipartisan support for expanding dairy in school meal nutrition programs.
The measure, led by Representatives GT Thompson, R-PA, and Kim Schrier, D-WA, expands the milk options schools can choose to include 2% and whole milk, in addition to the skim and 1% varieties currently allowed, increasing the number of tools schools can use to deliver vital nutrition to students by allowing more nutritious milk options schools can opt to serve.
“Expanding the milk schools can choose to serve to include 2% and whole is a common-sense solution that will help ensure kids have access to the same healthful milk options they drink at home,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern upon House approval.
The House vote came after extensive Hill work and grassroots advocacy, including an NMPF call to action to its mailing list of dairy advocates that can be joined here. The legislation gained near-unanimous support among House Republicans and a majority of Democrats, generating significant momentum for Senate consideration this year.
NMPF has been committed to reinstating in schools the milk options removed in 2012, including 1% flavored milk and all varieties of 2% and whole. After years of working with members of Congress, meeting with USDA, and filing regulatory comments, 1% flavored milk was returned to school lunch menus on more permanent footing in 2022. NMPF has simultaneously built bipartisan support for 2% and whole milk options. NMPF also has been urging the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to incorporate the robust body of scientific evidence showing the health benefits of dairy in all compositions, which should help expand dairy options in nutrition programs limited by dietary guidelines recommendations.