HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — In a nearly unanimous vote, the Pennsylvania House passed legislation that would bring whole milk and reduced-fat milk back to schools. Sponsors of the bill hope the legislation will help the struggling dairy industry.
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As previously reported by abc27, under current federal regulations, schools can only serve 1% or skim milk in schools, and supporters of the bill say, since then, milk consumption has been trending down. So State Representatives John Lawrence and Clint Owlett introduced the Whole Milk in Pennsylvania Schools Act.
“This regulation has been detrimental to Pennsylvania school children and the state’s dairy industry,” said Lawrence. “The fat-free and skim milk varieties lack the flavor of whole milk and are therefore less appealing. In fact, a lot of the milk served up in the school lunch program ends up in the trash, depriving children of its health and nutritional benefits.”
The bill would also require the state secretary of education to notify schools of the change and it would require the state attorney general to bring suit against the federal government or any other entity on behalf of a school to recover any funding withheld or revoked due to its action to allow whole and reduced-fat milk products in schools.
“This action has had a very real impact on dairy farmers in my district and across the state, and has contributed to the loss of about 2,140 dairy farms in Pennsylvania since 2010. This legislation comes to the aid of our struggling dairy industry, and it is sorely needed,” Owlett said.
The bill will now go to the state Senate for consideration.
On the federal level, United States Senator Pat Toomey is also making the push. He introduced the Milk in Lunches for Kids Act to allow schools to serve whole milk and 2% milk.