Following USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) announcement to purchase $50 million of pasteurized fluid milk several dairy groups and businesses have applauded the decision.
Under authorization from Section 32 regulations USDA will purchase milk representing 12 to 15 million gallons of fat free, low-fat, reduced fat and whole milk. The milk will be distributed through food assistance programs and food banks.
National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), MilkPEP, International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) all released statements announcing their backing of the program.
“We are pleased that USDA is now including fluid milk in the assortment of foods it is buying and donating, as milk is in high demand at food banks because of its unparalleled nutritional benefits,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “This effort will help more Americans meet their U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended daily consumption of milk. We appreciate this initial step and look forward to working with the department to continue building upon this effort.”
“Hunger and poor nutrition are serious issues in this country, and we support USDA in helping to provide nutrient-rich milk for those in need,” says John Wilson, senior vice president and chief fluid marketing officer, DFA. “This purchase will offer a great benefit for those that struggle with hunger and malnutrition today. We appreciate USDA acknowledging the important part milk plays in a healthy diet and partnering with the dairy industry in getting milk to those in need across the country.”
“As many as 41 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, face hunger daily and are at risk of missing out on essential nutrients when they don’t have access to milk,” says Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO. “Simply having more milk available for those in need can make a positive impact on public health.”
“Milk is one of the most requested nutrition staples at food banks, yet it is rarely available,” says Julia Kadison, chief executive officer at MilkPEP. “And as one out of two kids ages 9 and up are falling short on calcium, vitamin D and potassium – essential nutrients that milk provides – there is an even greater need to make sure milk is getting to children and families who need it most.”
There is a $21 billion a year monetary “meal gap” for people to purchase enough food to meet their needs, according to Feeding America.
It is important to note the purchase is not part of funding to compensate farmers from retaliatory tariffs on dairy products put in place by Mexico and China.