Raise a Glass of Milk to Celebrate Dairy’s Undeniable Goodness
In 2001, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared World Milk Day to take place every June 1 to recognize milk’s importance as a global food. This year, the campaign celebrates the dairy sectors’ contributions to “good food, health and nutrition; farmers caring responsibly for their communities, the land and their animals; and how dairy contributes to economic development and livelihoods.”
Since its inception, World Milk Day has grown larger every year, celebrated by over 40 countries in June 2016. This day is marked by celebrations and events ranging from marathons, farm visits, store product sampling, and concerts, to drinking a cold glass of milk or finding your perfect dairy pairing with another food. These events showcase milk as a global food that is part of all diets and cultures, as well as illustrating the important role played by the dairy industry in the national economy. The theme of this year’s 17th Annual World Milk Day is “Raise a Glass.”
National Dairy Month, which started out as National Milk Month in 1937, is an annual tradition that celebrates the dairy industry’s contribution to providing consumers with fresh, nutrient-rich milk and milk products every day of the year. During the 30 days of June, various activities are carried out around the country to raise awareness of the health and economic benefits of dairy.
Here are 10 reasons to raise a glass of milk to celebrate:
1. Milk and milk products’ undeniable taste and enjoyment. Think of how you enjoy a cold glass of milk, the melted cheese on your pizza, or a scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream. The array of milk and other dairy products makes it easy to satisfy unique taste preferences.
2. Milk’s nutritional package. Milk contributes many essential nutrients, including high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D (if fortified), vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). Dairy’s nutrient-rich package is recognized around the globe.
3. Milk as a core component of healthy eating patterns and dietary guidance recommendations in many countries. The U.S. Dietary guidelines recommends three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt for persons nine years and older. Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Korea, and Spain are among other countries recommending daily dairy intakes.
4. Milk’s role in health and wellness. Milk improves bone health in children and teens, and lowers blood pressure, and reduces risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes in adults.
5. Milk as the foundation for many other dairy products. Milk is processed into a variety of other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, kefir, cream, butter, and ice cream to meet consumers’ health and wellness needs, as well as cravings for indulgence.
6. Milk’s variety of versatile, high-quality ingredients used to develop innovative foods and beverages offering flavor, functionality, and nutrition. Modern industrial processes use milk to produce casein, whey protein, lactose, and many other high-quality ingredients in products the world desires, including dairy-based, ready-to-drink beverages, nutrition and energy bars, sports nutrition products, infant formula, and clinical nutrition products.
7. Milk as an important component in many recipes. These include bakery products, indulgent treats, main dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, beverages, desserts, snacks, dressings, dips, sauces, and soups.
8. Milk and milk products’ role in meeting food security and helping end hunger, poverty, and under-nutrition around the globe, not just here in the USA. As stated by a woman co-founder of a dairy cooperative in Uganda, who is devoted to fighting hunger and poverty, “Even if there is no food, you can give your child milk.” Milk products and ingredients are part of various food aid packages to help improve nutrition for the world’s most vulnerable populations.
9. Dairy farmers who are caring for their animals and the environment to provide the highest quality milk. Dairy farmers are committed to a better future and are continuously improving practices in the best interest of their cows, people, and the planet.
10. The one billion people worldwide who derive their livelihoods from the dairy sector.