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Healthy Kids Meal Bill introduced in Minnesota

Legislation introduced in Minnesota would require restaurants that feature children’s menus to offer milk or water as the default beverage.

Minnesota Milk director Lucas Sjostrum tells Brownfield the Healthy Kids Meal Bill is gaining traction in St. Paul.

“We have a number of health organizations on board, so that’s really exciting. And we have a unique coalition of dairy farmers, health professionals, and people who are worried about kids getting the right amount of nutrition.”

The bill is in response to data showing children consume up to 10 times more sugary drinks than what’s recommended by the American Heart Association.

Beverages like pop would not be banned, just not automatically included as part of a kid’s meal.

Sjostrum says the legislation would improve the health of Minnesota’s children and support the state’s dairy producers.

“It really would mean something psychologically to dairy farmers to know that the state supports milk as the first option for kids, and it would definitely increase sales obviously if you’re nudging people to choose milk over something else.”

He says as the Healthy Kids Meal Bill continues to drum up bipartisan support, he’s hopeful it will be passed this session or next.

Sjostrum does point out restaurant associations in Minnesota are not fans of the legislation, but adds there would be a five-year phase-in.

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