ADD SOY Act introduced
By: Sydney Sheffield
A new bipartisan bill was introduced by Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (D-LA.) and Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) that would require schools to provide fluid milk substitutes upon request of a student or parent/guardian. The Addressing Digestive Distress in Stomachs of Our Youth (ADD SOY) Act would make soy milk available to children in schools who need an alternative to cow’s milk.
“It is abundantly clear that the current milk substitute system that USDA employs is delivering detrimental impacts on BIPOC school children,” said Carter. “Too many children who cannot safely or comfortably consume dairy are being forced to accept containers of cow’s milk on their lunch trays. My ADD SOY Act ensures the health and nutritional needs of all our nation’s students are met. America needs to embrace its diversity at the lunch counter.”
The ADD SOY Act is an effort to help those who are lactose intolerant. According to the bill, large numbers of minority children, particularly Black (75%), Latino (65%), and Asian-American (90%) are lactose intolerant. Currently, children who suffer adverse reactions from cow’s milk must produce a doctor’s note if they choose not to accept traditional milk with their lunch.
“The federal government is wasting $300 million of our tax dollars a year by mandating that every school kid getting nutrition assistance has a carton of cow’s milk on the tray even though millions of them don’t want it and get sick from it,” said Mace. “Thirty percent of kids throw the milk away in the carton, and hundreds of millions of tax dollars wasted is not spilled milk. Kids should have a healthy choice in lunchrooms.”
Those in the dairy industry are not satisfied with the bill. The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) published an op-ed regarding the ADD SOY Act, saying if equity is the goal, milk is the solution. “Equity, in food, requires a quality product and equality in access. And for that, milk, a natural product offered with both regular and lactose-free options, remains by far the best solution. Equity in food policy means making sure that everyone has access to the nutrients they need to thrive. The federal school lunch and breakfast programs, the WIC Program, and other initiatives are meant to ensure nutrition for all.”
NMPF recognizes lactose intolerance in minority communities, stating “Lactose intolerance is a concern for populations that have higher rates of difficulty absorbing lactose, particularly African American, Asian American, American Indian, and Hispanic/Latino populations. That, unfortunately, is now being used by dairy’s opponents to tout their inferior nutrition as a solution to the problem lactose intolerance.” The solution, according to NMPF, is lactose-free milk, not soy milk.
According to a Journal of Nutrition article, when comparing whey protein, commonly found in cow’s milk, with soy protein, in overweight and obese participants, whey protein but not soy protein altered body weight and composition. Fat mass was also reduced in the whey protein group, compared to the soy protein group.
Read the ADD SOY Act here.