Soymilk allowed in US school meals
As from May 19, 2004, legislation has passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee to make it easier for children to drink soymilk instead of cow’s milk, as a part of their school meals.
The 1940s regulations governing the federal school lunch program did not allow any drink but cow’s milk from accompanying school meals. Until recently, soymilk is not a reimbursable expense under the federal school lunch program. This new legislation is designed to allow schools to receive reimbursement for soymilk.
This change has been made possible by the efforts of the Soyfood Association of North America. This change is very important for vegan children or children who want soymilk for health reasons. Many children don’t drink cow’s milk because they are allergic to it or have digestive problems, such as lactose intolerance.
According to USDA, 16% of secondary school students and 6% of elementary school students don’t drink cow’s milk during school meals. Cow’s milk contains calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D. Fortified soymilk provides a nutritional equivalent alternative because it also contains calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D equivalent to cow's milk (300 mg calcium , 100 IU of vitamin D and 500 IU of vitamin A per 8 ounces). An added advantage is that soymilk is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol.
Before schools can offer soymilk they need to provide written requests from parents or guardians and state agencies have to be notified. The Soyfood Association of North America (SANA) will help food service personnel of schools how to meet the requirements.