The International Dairy Foods Association issued the following statement by Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO, regarding the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final rule on school meals, which was released today.
“This final rule makes permanent the option for schools to offer low-fat flavored milk at each meal service. We commend USDA’s commitment to provide students with access to a variety of nutritious and healthy milk options, including the flavored milks they enjoy.
“Milk is the #1 source of nine essential nutrients in student diets. Milk also is a source of three out of four nutrients of public health concern for under-consumption: potassium, vitamin D and calcium. Dairy consumption is linked to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents. These are three good reasons why milk has always been a central part of school meals, and students now will have expanded choice with every meal.
“We also appreciate that USDA gave schools more time to reduce sodium levels in meals. This action is positive for the cheese industry, because sodium is an essential ingredient in cheese that cannot be easily lowered.”
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports nearly 3 million jobs that generate more than $161 billion in wages and has an overall economic impact of more than $628 billion. IDFA members range from multinational organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent approximately 90 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. The diverse membership includes numerous food retailers, suppliers, cooperatives and companies that offer a wide variety of nutritional dairy products and dairy-derived ingredients. Visit IDFA at www.idfa.org.