Last Friday I heard that the commodity giveaway for low income families will no longer be giving away powdered milk (non-fat dry milk). The commodity giveaway is a monthly event in the Big Valley area run by Bieber resident Richard Kildow. Non perishable food delivered from a "food pantry" is distibuted to needy families.
The reason for this change was given to me as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided that powdered milk is not a healthy product. After all these years of powdered milk being used as a food suppliment, this statement surprised me. I called Richard Kildow and asked if this was true and what was the reason. He informed me that this was true.
Investigating this by searching USDA web sites could find no mention of powdered milk no longer being an acceptable product for nutritional giveaways, nor any mention that it was an unhealthy product. There was, however a related change in USDA policy pertaining to this, which I will go into later.
Because Mr. Kildow was so adament that this was true, I called several agencies involved in food givaways to find out if anyone has heard of this. I contacted more than one food bank, did a thorough search of USDA news releases and also contacted the media release department of WIC (Woman and Infants and Children), a food and nutritional service of the USDA. No one could confirm this fact nor has anyone ever heard of it. WIC still makes this product available to their clients.
I contacted the Second Harvest Food Bank and spoke to an official who stated that although the milk product is a good nutritional supplement, no-one really likes it and they struggle to produce interesting recipies to make it more tasteful. Bottom line is that powdered milk is still a healthy food and because the USDA has a huge surplus, it is distributed widely to nutritional programs throughout the country.
So don't worry, non-fat dry milk is still a safe and healthy food endorced by the USDA as can be seen by CLICKING HERE!
The related item I discovered about USDA policy changes for powdered milk has to do with a Wisconsin food bank trying an innovative program in which they exchanged powdered milk to a local cheese producer to convert it into cheese which they would then give away. This program was stopped by the USDA as the they are afraid that this might depress the market price of dairy products. You can read the news release by CLICKING HERE!
This is an example of how U.S. policy heavily influenced by a powerful dairy lobby is misusing the law to protect an industry. The original reason for establishing the USDA food buying program was to stabilize commodity prices, that is to prevent wide fluctuations in market price when there is a short term surplus or shortage. This idea is good as it stabilizes an industry and CAN keep prices low during hard times. It appears that a huge surplus is being purchased by the government and stored for years at great expence to you and me. The law is being manipulated to keep prices higher than market value rather than to stabilize prices.
So if you have heard the rumor that non-fat dry milk is unhealthy, the bottom line is that is HOGWASH! This is quite literally so as you can read in THIS ARTICLE.