Skip to content

June 15, 2023

Collins, King Back Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Students’ Access to Milk in Schools

Maine dairy farmers laud Senators’ support to full range of options

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are joining a group of colleagues in sponsoring bipartisan legislation that would amend federal school lunch program guidelines to expand students’ access to milk in schools. The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act allows schools to offer additional healthy milk options in schools to improve students’ nutrition intake as a critical step toward improving child health outcomes.

The legislation seeks to require schools to include “whole, reduced-fat, low-fat, and fat-free” milk as options in the National School Lunch program, and to exempt milk from USDA saturated fat limits established in the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. Current law requires flavored milk in schools must be fat-free, though schools may seek a waiver to offer low-fat (1%) flavored milk.

“Whole milk provides essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, crucial for the growth and development of students,” said Senator Collins. “This bipartisan bill, which allows schools to provide whole, reduced-fat, low-fat, and fat-free milk as options under the National School Lunch Program not only helps ensure our students are getting the nutrients they need, but also supports local dairy farmers and strengthens local economies.

“Maine dairy farmers play a critical role in our state – producing high-quality, healthy products and driving our agricultural economy,” said Senator King. “The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act is commonsense legislation to give Maine students more choices for the type of milk they consume based on their own nutritional needs. I’m grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working together to support hardworking dairy producers and the health of America’s students.”

“As a Maine dairy farmer, I believe strongly in the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act. Not only is whole milk full of important nutrients our kids need to grow and learn, it’s local and produced by dairy farmers like my family and me right here in Maine,” said Isabel Mullin, a Maine dairy farmer in Kittery and Young Cooperator for the National Milk Producers Federation.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans reports that nearly 90 percent of Americans do not meet their daily dairy intake recommendations. Additionally, leading nutritionists have found that whole dairy fats have no negative effect on a diet, and may even reduce risk of heart disease.

In addition to Senator Collins and King, cosponsors of the act include U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Roger Marshall M.D. (R-Kan.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Fetterman (R-Pa.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.).

Senators Collins and King have been strong supporter of dairy industries, recently joining a bipartisan group in introducing legislation to combat the unfair practice of mislabeling non-dairy products. In the past, Senators Collins and King have joined their colleagues in asking the USDA for additional COVID-19 relief for dairy farmers. The Senators also previously joined the Maine Delegation in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide federal support to the 14 Maine organic dairy farms who were notified that their contracts would not be renewed by Horizon Organic. 


Next Article » « Previous Article