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Legislation introduced in the U.S. House would provide more access to milk in schools.

Washington--The School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017 introduced by Representative Glenn Thompson would allow schools to give students more milk choices.

American Farm Bureau Federation market intelligence director John Newton says the bill gives schools the flexibility to bring back low-fat flavored milk.

"Students in the school lunch program currently have access to low-fat milk," said John Newton, American Farm Bureau Market Intelligence Director. skim milk, but don’t have access to that low-fat flavored milk. So, this would allow them to bring that chocolate milk that was so popular in my childhood at the lunch table back into the lunch program.

Newton says the legislation provides a market opportunity for dairy farmers.

" For a number of years, consumption of fluid milk in the United States has been declining. So, this is a great step forward in trying to reverse that trend. You have an opportunity to work with potential consumers at a very young age. By introducing them to low-fat flavored milk, you could potentially have a dairy consumer for life," said Newton.

Allowing schools to provide more milk options also benefits children.

“We welcome the proposed pilot program to increase milk consumption through school venues such as classroom breakfast programs, athletic facilities, la carte sales, vending, etc. Grants offered through this pilot program will help school nutrition officials find new and creative ways to provide children with nutritious, wholesome meal and snack choices,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said in a letter to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennslyvania.

"Dairy has so many nutritious ingredients in it. To provide the opportunity for low-fat flavored milk in school gives all those vitamins and minerals that are in the milk available to the school kids. So, putting it on the plate is definitely a step forward for the lunch program," said Newton.