Congress Bravely Fights to Restore Whole Milk to School Lunches

Let’s see if I have this straight. The House of Representatives has to pass a government funding bill, billions in emergency aid to Ukraine and Israel, and possibly tougher immigration reforms.

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So why is Congress fooling around with the issue of getting whole milk back on school lunch menus?

“We want only the most nutritional option for Santa,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) argued on the House floor. “Whole milk is the unsung hero of his Christmas journey.”

Yes, Foxx is a grownup and doesn’t really believe in Santa Claus (I think). But it’s Christmas and even congresspeople can get caught up in the season.

Santa has “to travel the whole globe in one night,” she said. “Protein helps build and repair Santa’s muscles. Hoisting heavy sacks of gifts up and down the chimney is no easy task.” He should probably load up on those carbs as well.

“You see, it’s not just the magic of the season that helps Santa deliver presents worldwide. It’s also the fortifying nutrients of whole milk,” Foxx continued. “Reflecting on Christmas traditions this year begs the question, ‘If whole milk is a good option to fuel Santa’s extraordinary Christmas Eve journey, then why isn’t it an option for American schoolchildren in their lunchrooms?’”

HuffPo:

While her concerns about Santa’s muscles may be real, Foxx was actually making the case for passing a bill to allow whole milk back into school lunch programs. The legislation by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) would bypass a USDA and HHS advisory committee of child nutrition experts ― and the dietary guidelines they set ― to serve whole milk in schools, which have only offered low-fat and fat-free milk for the last decade or so.

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), who led opposition to the bill, noted that virtually every major public health organization agrees that low-fat and fat-free milk are the healthiest options for children, as whole milk is higher in saturated fat. The American Heart Association, the American Public Health Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the groups opposing this bill.

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Eight ounces of whole milk is not going to kill anyone. Foxx makes a good point about the nutritional advantages of whole milk on growing bodies. And since for many kids, the only milk they will get all day is part of the school lunch program, giving kids the choice of whole milk seems a good idea.

But this argument isn’t about the health of American children. It’s about the economic impact on dairy farms of adding whole milk back to the diet of kids in school.

“Let’s end the war on milk,” Foxx declared. With that, the “debate” careened out of control.

“Some may ask, why are we focusing on this issue?” Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin said to his colleagues. “The USDA has its sights on getting rid of chocolate milk in schools. It’s now up to us to act.”

“Come and take it, USDA,” he taunted.

Earlier, Rep. Cory Mills of Florida warned of  the commies “infiltrating school lunches.” Apparently, Mills wants an amendment to bar the Chinese Communist Party from putting their milk in American schools. It can’t happen, since the government is required to buy only American milk. But you can never be too careful when it comes to battling commies.

We could ask if Congress has anything better to do than spending time trying to please the dairy lobby, which already gets healthy subsidies and preferential treatment. 

Besides, I have it on good authority that Santa prefers chocolate milk with a pinch of nutmeg.

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