Pennsylvania Rep. Fred Keller introduced legislation that aims to increase milk consumption in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The bill, Giving Increased Variety to Ensure Milk into the Lives of Kids Act, is otherwise known as the GIVE MILK Act, allows participants age 2 and older the option of having 2% milk and whole milk.
“Whole milk and 2% reduced fat milk remain some of the most nutritious options to support a healthy upbringing," said Keller, a Republican. "It is essential that we expand these critical sources of nutrients in our federal nutrition assistance programs. I am introducing the GIVE MILK Act to ensure whole milk and 2% reduced fat milk are readily available for our families and children relying on the WIC program while simultaneously supporting our nation’s dairy farmers.”
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," said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Glenn 'GT' Thompson, R-Pennsylvania. Thompson said, "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.”
Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, said the bill will encourage WIC families to consume more milk.
“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," Dykes said. "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."
The WIC program, administered by 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.
The WIC program provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, nutritional education and other support for low-income pregnant or postpartum women as well as caregivers of children under 5.