Potential Ban of Chocolate Milk Looms in US School Cafeterias
Are our children’s school lunches about to lose some sweet treats? In a decision that could change affect children and school cafeterias, US officials are considering a nationwide ban on the classic favorite -chocolate milk.
The US Department of Agriculture is concerned about the children’s high sugar intake, as The Wall Street Journal reported. This potential ban will also include strawberry, chocolate, and other varieties of chocolate milk drinks.
Major cities like San Francisco and Washington, DC, have already adopted this idea of a flavored-milk ban. The feds first considered the ban earlier this year. New York City Mayor Eric Adams disapproved and abandoned the proposal.
Advocates of the ban said that sugary drinks increase the risk of childhood obesity. According to CDC, 20% of the kids in the US are obese.
U.S. officials are considering a ban on chocolate milk in elementary and middle school cafeterias due to its high sugar content. pic.twitter.com/vg5XNn4rnT
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) May 15, 2023
Erica Lauren Kenney, a nutrition and public health professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, suggests, “From a public health perspective, it makes a lot of sense to try to limit the servings of these flavored milk because they do have quite a lot of added sugar.”
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Despite the cons of high sugar consumption, several districts, dairy industry officers, and parents argued that chocolate milk offers health benefits too.
Katie Wilson, Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance – an organization that represents 18 US’ biggest school districts, also questioned the ban proposal. She asked if banning a product with nine important nutrients that most kids love is sensible.
Moreover, federal officers are also torn and indecisive about banning chocolate milk. Fed officers are considering allowing variants with 10 grams or less of additional sugars in every 8oz serving of the sweet beverage.
— New York Post (@nypost) May 15, 2023
Last month, over 90% of the school milk processing businesses agreed to comply with the new sugar regulations. An administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, Cindy Long, expressed how challenging it is to think about whether flavored milk is the best option moving forward.
She said, “We really do want to encourage children to consume milk. We also recognize the need to reduce added-sugar consumption.”
Furthermore, the director of nutrition services for Littleton Public Schools in Colorado said that many students would lack protein once chocolate milk is unavailable. These kids don’t like the taste of pure unflavored milk.
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Jessica Gould a thought-provoking question in the paper. “Shouldn’t we be encouraging children to consume milk for its calcium, protein, and other nutritional benefits?”
She highlighted a trend during the Covid-19 crisis when school cafeterias only offered white milk. It resulted in a significant decrease in the overall milk intake of children in schools.
Since USDA revealed the proposal last February, they have received almost 90,000 responses. The final decision, which is about to affect 30 million students, will be released by next year.
Cindy Long also confirmed that when the decision was final, school cafeterias would implement the chocolate milk ban by the school year 2025-2026. In addition, USDA is also considering reducing salt content in school meals.