Senator Karla Bigham of Cottage Grove is behind a bill that would make milk the default beverage for children’s meals at restaurants in the state. Bigham says the bill is *not* a mandate and adds “we are not trying to pre-empt parental decision making here. If you still want your child to have juice or pop, you just have to ask for it, there will also be no surcharge or upcharge of drinks as a result of this bill if it is passed.” Bigham says the goal is to provide “nutritious, healthy, milk for children and this bill will hopefully start ensuring that children have healthy habits when it comes to their decision making on nutrition.” Bigham says allowing milk to be a default beverage for children’s meals is “a powerful way to show our concern in the battle against childhood obesity and diabetes.” And she says the bill would also provide a boost to the state’s dairy industry. Minnesota ranks 8th in the country in total milk production, producing approximately 9.5 billion pounds of milk per year. But the number of dairy farms in Minnesota shrunk for the second year in a row in 2019, and over 300 farms have closed in each of the last two years.
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