Sen. Marshall Fights to Bring Whole Milk Access To All Schools

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. introduced bipartisan legislation that amends the Richard Russell National School Lunch Act to allow schools participating in the program to serve whole milk as part of the National School Lunch Program. 

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) reports that nearly 90% of Americans do not meet their daily dairy intake recommendations. This legislation expands healthy milk options in schools to improve our students’ nutrition intake and will be a critical step in improving child nutrition health outcomes. 

“Today, 2 out of 3 children do not receive their recommended daily dairy intake. Our legislation aims to change that by reinstating whole milk in school cafeterias. I truly believe food is medicine, and by increasing kids’ access to milk, we will help prevent health complications down the road and encourage nutrient-rich diets for years to come. Whole milk is an excellent source of nutrients for students and adults alike in building strong bones. Plus, it tastes good,” Senator Marshall said.

“This bill will help our students access the nutritious, high-quality whole milk Vermont’s dairy farmers work hard to produce. That’s good for our kids — and for our local farmers, who can continue to do what they love and feed our communities. I’m excited to join Doc Marshall to introduce this legislation,” Senator Welch said. 

“The dairy industry promotes a healthy diet in the same way that it promotes a healthy economy,” Sen. Johnson said. “I’m happy to join this bipartisan group of legislators in cosponsoring this bill to bring flavored and unflavored whole milk back to our schools,” Senator Johnson said. 

“Milk provides essential nutritional benefits for America’s kids,” Senator Risch said. “Through the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, we can ensure our kids have the choice between a wide variety of Idaho’s world class milk options to help strengthen their bones, teeth, and overall health.”

“Whole milk is a delicious and nutritious source of vitamins and minerals for growing children,” Senator Gillibrand said. “I am proud to cosponsor this legislation that supports our New York dairy farmers while also providing a healthy option for children at school.”

“More and more we are seeing good things, like nutritious milk, get wrongly thrown out in the zeal to force so-called healthier lifestyles.  Generations of mothers know that children need and thrive on milk, which provides essential nutrients necessary for healthy development,” Senator Hyde-Smith said.  “This legislation would restore whole milk as an option for students, which would be beneficial for them.”

“Idaho’s dairy producers rightfully take great pride in the plethora of high-quality, healthy products they produce,” said Crapo. “This legislation removes unnecessary limits on the types of milk schools can distribute, balancing choice and health in the cafeteria,” Senator Crapo said. 

“American youth have reduced their dairy consumption as a result of the misguided push to put only skim and 1% milk in schools.  Whole and 2% milk are packed with flavor and critical nutrients, and it was a mistake to take these options away from our kids. This bill would return some common sense to national dietary guidelines and allow students to experience the full goodness of American dairy milk, some of which comes from the more than 200,000 dairy cows living in Iowa,” Senator Grassley said. 

“We applaud Senators Marshall and Welch for working to ensure all students have access to the healthy milk options that they will choose to drink. Most children and adolescents do not meet their daily dairy recommendations. This is a nutrition problem for our country’s youth because they are not taking in dairy’s unique nutritional profile, which includes 13 essential nutrients. By expanding the options in school meal programs to include the most popular varieties of nutritious milk, discouraging food waste and encouraging better nutrition, the bipartisan Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act provides a commonsense solution that increases schools’ ability to choose milk varieties that best meet their students’ nutritional needs.” Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation said.

“The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023 would allow schools to provide a wider variety of nutritious milk options that children prefer to drink. Whole milk provides students with milk’s 13 essential nutrients for growth, development, healthy immune function, and overall wellness. Nutritionists, school meal professionals, and a wide majority of parents know that offering whole milk increases school meal participation, reduces food waste, and adds to the nutritional value of school meals for children and adolescents,” Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of International Dairy Foods Association said. 


  • In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which amended nutrition standards in the School Lunch Program. Among the changes, the law mandated that flavored milk must be fat-free within the program.
  • In May of 2017, the USDA announced a rule that allowed schools to receive waivers for low-fat (1%) flavored milk, rather than only fat-free.
  • Leading nutritionists have found that whole dairy fats have no negative effect on a diet, and may even reduce risk of heart disease.