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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 10, 2022 09:33 AM
From: Representative John A. Lawrence and Rep. Clint Owlett
To: All House members
Subject: COSPONSOR MEMO – Whole Milk in Pennsylvania Schools Act
Dear Colleagues –

 Most of us grew up getting whole or chocolate milk during our elementary school years.  We remember our Kindergarten days when chocolate milk was sold in the Elementary Cafeteria – 25 cents a carton for Rep. Owlett, 15 cents a carton for Rep. Lawrence.  
These days, due to federal regulations enacted under the Obama Administration, whole and two percent reduced fat milk is not served in schools.  Speak with any school cafeteria worker, and they will tell you students are not fans of skim milk.  Speak with any dairy farmer in Pennsylvania, and they will tell you that this ill-fated federal directive removing whole milk from schools is a top concern.  
A study cited by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board in a recent Lancaster Farming article noted that elementary student milk consumption dropped 35% when flavored milk was eliminated from school offerings, and much of the (skim) milk provided to school children these days is tossed in the trash.  Students receive zero percent of the nutrients contained in a carton of milk that ends up in the dumpster.  The article, entitled “Too Much School Milk Wasted,” can be viewed at this link:
The Commerce Clause of the US Constitution provides the federal government authority to regulate interstate commerce.  Over the years, the Courts have found this authority extends to milk that travels over state lines to be bottled or sold.  These court rulings lend credence to the federal no-whole-milk-in-schools dictate, since many states rely on interstate milk ‘imported’ from other states.
Pennsylvania has a centuries-old tradition of family dairy farms.  Milk that is produced, processed, and sold completely within the Commonwealth is a matter of intrastate, not interstate, commerce.  Schools within Pennsylvania, using Pennsylvania funds, should not be denied the ability to purchase a Pennsylvania agricultural product to serve to Pennsylvania school children.
The Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution states “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  The US Constitution is silent on matters of agriculture and education.  Purely intrastate production and consumption of food is a state matter, not a federal matter.  Pennsylvania milk purchased with Pennsylvania tax dollars and consumed in Pennsylvania schools is a purely intrastate issue.  The Commerce Clause does not apply, provided that the milk in question has not crossed state lines.   
With that in mind, in the near future, we will introduce the Whole Milk in Pennsylvania Schools Act.  This legislation will ensure Pennsylvania students, at Pennsylvania schools, have the option to consume Pennsylvania whole and two percent reduced fat milk paid for with Pennsylvania tax dollars.
We would appreciate your support of this initiative.

Introduced as HB2397