Congressman Keller introduces GIVE MILK Act to expand access to whole milk
WASHINGTON – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) on Friday introduced the Giving Increased Variety to Ensure Milk into the Lives of Kids Act, otherwise known as the GIVE MILK Act, with original co-sponsor Congressman Glenn ‘GT Thompson’ (R-PA).
The legislation aims to increase milk consumption in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by giving participants over the age of two the option of having two percent reduced fat milk and whole milk as part of their diet. The bill reverses an Obama Administration era rule limiting WIC participants to low-fat (one percent) or non-fat milk.
On the introduction of the GIVE MILK Act, Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) made the following statement:
“Whole milk and two percent reduced fat milk remain some of the most nutritious options to support a healthy upbringing, and it is essential that we expand these critical sources of nutrients in our federal nutrition assistance programs. That is why I am proud to introduce the GIVE MILK Act to ensure whole milk and two percent reduced fat milk are readily available for our families and children relying on the WIC program while simultaneously supporting our nation’s dairy farmers.”
Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, an original co-sponsor of the legislation, made the following statement:
“Whole milk has been wrongfully targeted as unhealthy in recent years, but in reality it provides a wealth of vital nutrients that are particularly important for growing children. Including whole milk in the WIC program will provide a healthy option for those families who find themselves depending upon these benefits for essential nutrition.”
In addition, the following groups made statements in support of the GIVE MILK Act:
Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF)
“Milk has a unique nutrition profile which includes nine essential nutrients, three of which Americans get so little of that USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services have deemed their under-consumption a public health concern. The GIVE MILK Act would make it easier for expectant mothers and mothers of young children to access milk for their families, providing infants, children, and mothers the nutrients they need during key developmental stages. NMPF thanks Congressmen Keller and Thompson for their leadership and looks forward to continuing to work with them to ensure our children and families have access to healthy and affordable food.”
Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA)
“The GIVE MILK Act will encourage WIC families to consume more milk which is central to a healthy diet beginning at a very young age. The American Academy of Pediatrics says milk is the leading food source for calcium, vitamin D, and potassium in the diet of American children 2-18 years, as well the number-one source of protein. No other type of food or beverage provides the unique combination of nutrients that cow’s milk contributes to the diets of adults and children alike. Milk processors are grateful to Congressmen Keller and Thompson for supporting mothers and children with this important bill.”
The WIC program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), supports the health and nutrition of low-income women, infants, and children through issuing federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education.
In 2014, the Obama Administration directed the USDA to make several major changes to the types of milk that are allowed in the WIC program, limiting important nutrition options for WIC participants and negatively impacting our nation’s dairy industry.