HARRISBURG – In what would be a win-win for Pennsylvania students and the dairy industry, the state House today approved legislation supported by Rep. Clint Owlett (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) to help get whole milk back in the state’s schools.
“Studies have shown a 35% reduction in student milk consumption since the Obama administration forced schools to drop whole and flavored milks from their student breakfast and lunch offerings more than a decade ago,” Owlett said. “At the same time, the state has lost 2,140 of our dairy farms, including 230 last year alone. Clearly these trends are connected and it’s time we act to turn them around.”
Watch Rep. Owlett’s comments in the House chamber here
House Bill 2397
, which Owlett is sponsoring along with Rep. John Lawrence (R-Chester/Lancaster), would create the free-standing Whole Milk in PA Schools Act to permit Pennsylvania schools to purchase with state or local dollars whole milk and reduced fat milk to offer to students. PA milk that is offered for sale to PA schools would be deemed to be in the stream of intrastate commerce.
The secretary of Education would be required to notify schools of the act and within two years issue a report to the General Assembly outlining the number of schools electing to offer Pennsylvania milk, approximate consumption rates and actions taken by the Commonwealth to promote the availability of whole and reduced fat milk.
Finally, the bill also would require the attorney general to bring a civil action against the federal government to recover funds withheld from schools taking action under this act. The measure would expire if amendments to or repeals of federal laws result in the availability of whole or reduced fat (2%) milk in the state’s schools.
“The dairy industry is a vital part of our agriculture economy, and dairy milk is a vital source of nutrients, such as protein, calcium and vitamin D, for our kids,” Owlett said. “This bill is most definitely a win for everyone.”
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Clint Owlett
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia Hippler