The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) applaud last night's introduction of The Child Nutrition Improvement and Integrity Act.

The bill, H.R. 3873 updates components of the nation’s child nutrition programs to reaffirm milk’s central role in the National School Lunch Program, and to give schools the flexibility to offer all varieties of milk, including flavored and lactose-free varieties, to kids in the school lunch line.

"We commend the congressmen for keeping milk right where it should be, at the center of this important nutritional program for our nation's children," said IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton. "With this bill, kids can choose their favorites from a variety of milks, which all provide the same, great nutrient package. The variety offered in the school cafeteria will look a lot more like what is offered in the local store."

NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak stated that "this is a step in the right direction toward solving our nation's calcium crisis. We look forward to continuing our work with Congress to ensure that milk will be central part of the next generation's diets, helping our children become lifelong milk drinkers and develop healthy eating patterns."

In particular, the nation's dairy farmers and processors welcome the addition of lactose-free milk to the school lunch line, believing it will expand milk's appeal to those with special dietary needs.

House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Education Reform Subcommittee Chairman Mike Castle, R-Del introduced the bill. The bill also had 10 Republican and four Democratic co-sponsors.

Be sure to contact your congressional representatives to let them know you support the bill.