Stop Dairy Industry from Milking School Lunches for Profit
PCRM recently petitioned the federal government to stop requiring milk in the National School Lunch Program. The federal government spends more money on dairy products than any other food item in the school lunch program. But research shows that milk does not improve bone health and is the No. 1 source of saturated fat in children’s diets.
“Milk doesn’t make children grow taller and stronger, but it can make them heavier,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “We are asking Congress and the USDA to put children’s interests above the interests of the dairy industry. Focusing on milk as the single most important source of calcium in children’s diets distracts schools and parents from foods that can actually build bones, like beans and leafy greens.”
The petition asks the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue a report to Congress recommending an amendment to the National School Lunch Act. The amendment would exclude dairy milk as a required component of school lunches. Milk, the petition argues, does not improve bone health or reduce the risk of osteoporosis and can actually create other health risks, especially later in life.
“The promotion of milk ingestion in children is, in effect, the promotion of an ineffective placebo,” the petition states. It adds that other products, including calcium-enriched soymilk and rice milk, contain calcium but, unlike dairy milk, are free of animal protein and low in sodium that can interfere with calcium absorption in the human body.