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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

Courtney, Thompson Applaud USDA School Meals Rule

November 29, 2017
Press Release
Rule supports milk in schools, provides more flexibility with school lunches

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the School Meal Flexibility Rule, which provides regulatory changes for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. 

Among the rule’s provisions, it provides schools with the option to serve low-fat, 1-percent flavored milk.  Under current law, schools are only permitted to serve low-fat milk and prohibits 1-percent or higher. Despite growing public school enrollment, schools served 213 million less half-pints of milk between 2014 and 2016. 

Last month, U.S. Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02) and U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-05) introduced the bipartisan H.R. 4101, the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017.

Similar to USDA’s rule, H.R.4101 would allow schools to serve 1-percent fat, both flavored and non-flavored varieties.  

Rep. Courtney said, “Milk is an important source of valuable nutrients for our nation’s children, and I thank Secretary Purdue for finalizing the School Meals Rule to reflect our efforts to provide schools with the option to offer low-fat flavored milk. I look forward to monitoring the implementation of this school milk  provision during the next school year and will continue to work with Rep. Thompson to increase school milk consumption through our School Milk Nutrition Act.”

Rep. Thompson said, “I applaud USDA taking this commonsense action to give schools more options while providing nutritious varieties of milk. Students will drink more milk if we make more options available to them. Milk provides many health benefits and must remain a staple in the diets of our youth. In order to make this important regulatory change permanent, we must follow through and pass the School Milk Nutrition Act.”

The rule is also broadly supported by the dairy industry.

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said, “The math here is quite simple: More milk consumption equals better nutrition for America’s kids. Secretary Perdue, along with the leadership provided by Reps. Glenn Thompson and Joe Courtney, is fighting for sound nutrition policy, and we will continue to work with both USDA and Congress to find ways to boost the value of milk’s contribution to public health.”

The School Milk Flexibility Rule was published in the Federal Register on November 29, 2017 and can be found here.

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