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Promoting Milk To Young Children

09 August 2010

UK & US - Dairy UK today welcomed David Cameron’s rejection of proposals to scrap the Nursery Milk scheme, which benefits under-five-year-olds throughout Britain. In the US, the International Dairy Foods Association has applauded the passage of child nutrition legislation which strengthens federal feeding programmes.

Jim Begg, Director General of Dairy UK, said: “We are very pleased that the government has seen the light on this issue and David Cameron is reflecting the views of parents throughout the country that free milk for children attending nurseries is an excellent way of providing them with drink that is nutritionally very important.

“Dairy UK made strong representations to various government departments and ministers on the proposals and we are delighted that common sense has prevailed.”

In the US, federal child nutrition programmes include the National School Lunch Programme, School Breakfast Programme, Special Supplemental Programme for Women Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Child and Adult Care Food Programme.

"This legislation recognises the nutritional importance of dairy products for school-age children and ensures that schools offer low-fat and nonfat milk varieties to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans," said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of IDFA. "In addition, the bill mandates consistent nutrition standards for all foods and beverages sold or provided in schools."

The legislation, S. 3307, will give the US Department of Agriculture authority to set nutrition standards for beverages sold in a la carte lines and vending machines in schools. In Senate testimony in 2009, IDFA urged legislators to establish consistent nutrition standards for all foods and beverages available in schools and to assure the standards are grounded in the Dietary Guidelines.

Because milk is an excellent source of nine essential nutrients and vitamins, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that children ages 9 to 18 consume three servings a day of low-fat or nonfat milk or dairy products, including yogurt and cheese. Milk consumption per capita is declining, particularly among middle and high school-age children. The US Department of Agriculture reports that most American children fail to meet the recommended dairy servings. The government also reports that only five per cent of girls and 25 per cent of boys ages 9 to 13 get the calcium they need.

The bill provides $4.5 billion in new child nutrition programme funding over 10 years and will be paid for through cost savings in other federal programmes. It aims to ensure that eligible children are participating in the programs, to improve the quality of meal benefits, and to modernise and improve the integrity of the programmes.

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