USDA Mulls Chocolate Milk Ban in School Cafeterias

The Wall Street Journal reports that the USDA is weighing a ban on chocolate and strawberry milk for elementary and middle school cafeterias because of the added sugar.

The department says chocolate milk can contain as much added sugar as soda. They’re considering two options: One would limit chocolate milk to only high schools, and the other would allow it to stay but with a new limit on added sugars.

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The proposed flavored milk moratorium, considered but abandoned by New York City Mayor Eric Adams last year, has been adopted by major cities like Washington, DC, and San Francisco and was first floated by the feds earlier this year.

Chocolate Milk

Proponents of the ban say sugary beverages contribute to childhood obesity, which some 20% of the nation’s kids are afflicted by, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of course, not everyone is happy about the proposal,

“We want to take a product that most kids like and that has nine essential nutrients in it and say, ‘You can’t drink this; you have to drink plain?'” Katie Wilson, executive director of the Urban School Food Alliance, which represents 18 of the largest school districts in the country, asked.

The USDA says many students get most of their meals at school, and they want those meals to be as healthy as possible.

“Calcium, Vitamin D, and potassium,” New England Dairy Director of Youth Wellness Erin Wholey said. “Those are three ingredients that we know kids aren’t getting enough of, and the reality is, kids love flavored milk.”

The USDA received nearly 90,000 comments on the proposal since it was unveiled in February.

“From a public health perspective, it makes a lot of sense to try to limit the servings of these flavored kinds of milk because they do have quite a lot of added sugar,” Erica Lauren Kenney, a nutrition professor with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told the newspaper.

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According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision to ban sugary milk will likely take effect for the 2025-2026 school year.

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