By Sherry Bunting, Republished from Farmshine, Friday, August 7, 2020
BROWNSTOWN, Pa. — One school in Pennsylvania had the courage to just do it.
For the 2019-20 school year beginning in September, they conducted a trial that simply offered the choice of whole milk and 2% next to the required fat-free and 1% to middle and high school students daily for breakfast and lunch. They did not promote the trial or call attention to it, just waited to see how students would react and what their responses would be.
The results are too important to ignore!
Within a short time of expanding the milk choices last September, students were choosing whole milk 3 to 1 over low-fat milk.
In January, four months into the trial, they found that allowing students to choose from all varieties of milk fat levels increased overall milk consumption by 65% and reduced milk waste by 95%.
Just before schools closed in March due to the pandemic, students were surveyed to learn what they had to say about their milk consumption behavior. Here’s a sampling: 60% said they had thrown away milk in the past before the trial, but only 31% said they had thrown away milk AFTER the whole milk trial.
Only half the students said they were aware of the restrictions on what type of milk could be offered at school.
Incredibly, the percentage of teens at this school who said they were choosing milk at breakfast before the trial was 67%, after expanding milk choices to include whole milk, 80% were choosing milk at breakfast.
All of this data and more in just seven months at a middle school and high school in Pennsylvania. We are withholding the name of the district and its foodservice director to shield their identity from potential backlash due to the USDA rules on fat content of purchased ala-carte “competing” beverages.
The foodservice director who set up the trial, with the support of the school board, states that students have now tasted the difference. Now that the school is using the intermediate unit as the vendor for packaged pickup meals and can only make 1% milk available, the kids are asking: “Where’s the Whole milk?”
“I am 100% convinced that most parents do not know about all that is going on with the school meals programs,” the Pennsylvania school foodservice director said. She is letting them know about the Dietary Guidelines and school nutrition rules so they can become aware and perhaps be led to be involved.
The official public comment period on the 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report has ended. USDA and HHS are using the DGA Report to finalize the next five years of Dietary Guidelines.
To bring the choice of whole milk back to schools, contact your representatives in Congress to cosponsor House Bill 832 Whole Milk for Healthy Kids and Senate Bill 1810 Milk in Lunches for Kids. Also, contact school boards and other governmental and non governmental organizations and ask them to consider adopting resolutions in support of this choice.
Learn more about how to take action at this link. A sample board resolution is on the second page. Schools that adopt resolutions should email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list and also let their Congressional delegations in Washington know they support HR 832 and S. 1810. https://www.97milk.com/wp-content/uploads/TakeAction_092820.pdf