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Whole milk: A good source of bipartisanship?

Whole Milk
Matt Rourke
Whole milk at a market in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 16, 2022.

Whole milk was prohibited from school cafeterias a decade ago as part of the Department of Agriculture's School Lunch Program. The effort was part of the Obama administration Let's Move initiative. Now people are starting to second guess that idea, including Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from Northern Virginia’s 7th District.

"Far too often you see the tray of food, and you see that skim milk unopened going straight into the trash can," Spanberger notes. "And I know certainly from my three daughters, the youngest of whom is a third grader, that she loves chocolate milk, whole milk, and it's an important part of getting enough calories and nutrients into her on a regular basis."

That's why she introduced the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, which would allow flavored and unflavored whole milk in public school cafeterias. Michael Dykes at the International Dairy Foods Association says the bill reflects the latest in scientific research.

"Researchers are speaking out more that consumption of fat in the diet is not directly related to obesity," Dykes says. "Also, as to the concerns of saturated fat in milk, new studies are out saying that consumption of full-fat dairy is maybe associated with neutral or lower risk of heart disease."

Unlike a lot of other things in Congress, this is a bill that has widespread support on both sides of the aisle. One of the co-sponsors to Spanberger's bill is Republican Congressman Ben Cline from the Shenandoah Valley.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.