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IDFA says challenges to dairy’s healthfulness is a top concern   

The head of the International Dairy Foods Association says positioning dairy products as healthy will be critical to maintaining their inclusion in nutrition programs.

Michael Dykes says the USDA recently released a proposed rule which would reduce milk purchases in the Women, Infants, and Children’s program and limit access to fluid milk.

“The handwriting is on the wall for us—if we’re going to keep the programs and keep dairy positioned as a core part of the diet and healthy for you, we’re going to have to stay focused on health and wellness,” he says.

The USDA says the revisions are science-based and incorporate recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.

Dykes says the organization wants to expand the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive, which matches milk dollars in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, in the next farm bill.

“We want to broaden the selections to all milks, we want to broaden the program, but we want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to position milk and dairy products as healthy and as good for you,” he says.

Dykes says dairy’s inclusion in assistance programs is not about moving volumes, but rather providing access to a healthful product.

The organization also plans on asking Congress to make permanent the Dairy Forward Pricing Program and improve cost reporting in the Federal Milk Marketing Order as part of the 2023 Farm Bill.

Dykes spoke during an IDFA webinar Wednesday.

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