Milk may not be the most pressing issue for school administrators these days, but the issue was raised during a New York State Senate hearing earlier this year.
During a February 24 hearing from New York Senate Committee on Agriculture, agricultural lawyer and dairy producer Lorraine Lewandrowski called for greater investment in dairy farms and rural communities.
Lewandrowski prefaced his testimony by describing several issues that dairy farmers grapple with. Including strict New York State milk pricing laws.
Lewandrowski said dairy farmers face strict production limits, which reduce their bargaining power. âOur food model is based on distant sources as we throw our rural communities in the trash,â she said.
One of the points made by Lewandrowksi in his testimony is that students in state public schools should be able to consume whole milk.
âMake it legal for a New York state student to drink a glass of fresh whole milk,â Lewandrowski said. “Beautiful cuisine from a beautiful country.”
Is whole milk really banned in New York public schools? Basically, yes.
Where does the ban on whole milk come from?
In 2006, New York City school districts suffered a major rebranding of their student lunch programs, focusing on improving the nutritional values ââof meals. As a result, whole milk was withdrawn and ultimately banned by the city’s school board.
The options left on the menu were 1% milk, skim milk and skim chocolate milk.
Then, in 2010, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was passed by Congress. The law changed school meal programs nationwide by banning whole milk, 2% white milk, 2% flavored milk, and 1% flavored milk. This left the student’s milk options to flavored skim milk, white skim milk, or 1% white.
During the 2017-18 school year, regulations were relaxed and Congress allowed schools to offer 1% flavored milk with evidence of operational difficulties. By 2018-19, schools were allowed to offer 1% flavored milk without citing an operational issue, according to the USDA. But whole milk remains unavailable.
Efforts to end the ban
In March 2021, representatives Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., And Antonio Delgado, DN.Y., introduced the Whole Milk for Healthy Children Act 2021. This would allow flavored and unflavored whole milk to return to school cafeterias.
New York State Senator George Borrello, a member of the Agriculture Committee, told PolitiFact he “wholeheartedly” supports efforts to return whole milk to schools. He said it would give New York’s kids another lunch option while helping the state’s dairy industry.
Dairy farmers want to be able to sell whole milk in addition to other types because they claim it is more nutritious and reduces the waste of students who don’t like the taste of low fat milk.
Food Waste Warrior, a World Wildlife Fund project, found that up to 45 million gallons of milk were wasted in school canteens in 2019, worth $ 138 million. The study predicted that total food waste in schools could cost up to $ 9.7 million per day or $ 1.7 billion per school year.
âWe are losing a whole generation of students who cannot appreciate a good glass of tasty milk,â Lewandrowksi said. “How could that be good?” ? “
Lewandrowski said it was currently “not legal for a student in New York State to have a glass of fresh whole milk.”
New York City banned the provision of whole milk to schools in 2006, and the federal government banned whole milk nationally – and therefore New York State – in 2010.
We assess this statement as true.