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Originally Posted: 31 July 2009
Include Non-Dairy Alternatives in the Child Nutrition Act
From Farm Sanctuary
Tell Your Senators and Representatives to Support Alternatives to Cows’ Milk in the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act.
Sign the online petition here
And/Or better yet, make direct contact:
Don’t Schoolchildren Deserve the Option of Healthy Alternatives to Cows’ Milk?
The Child Nutrition Act is the foundation for food policy in our schools. This year, Congress will reauthorize the law, providing us with a tremendous opportunity to make non-dairy alternatives to cows’ milk an option for children in school cafeterias around the country.
Currently, virtually all children participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are automatically served cows’ milk, despite the fact that as many as eight million schoolchildren are lactose intolerant, and countless others avoid cows’ milk for health, environmental and ethical reasons. A longstanding federal policy stipulates that schools will only be reimbursed for meals containing a serving of cows’ milk. As a result, healthy, plant-based alternatives to cows' milk - such as fortified soy, rice and almond milk - are unavailable to children in almost all schools participating in the NSLP.
Denying children easy access to dairy alternatives is especially damaging to minority populations, particularly African Americans and Latino children who are not only more likely to be lactose intolerant (according to the National Institutes of Health), but also make up a greater percentage of those dependent upon the NSLP for their nutritional needs. The effect of this inequity is that while the dairy industry reaps profits from the NSLP, schoolchildren (and cows on dairy farms) suffer unjustly.
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