ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–Got Chocolate milk? As of now, it’s allowed in many schools, but that could change.
To reduce sugar intake, The United States Department of Agriculture has two proposals regarding flavored milk.
The first would allow all schools to continue offering fat-free/low-fat flavored and unflavored milk. The second would limit younger children in elementary and middle schools (K-8) to unflavored milk and only allow flavored milk as an option for high school students (9-12). The second option also asks for public feedback on appropriate age limits for consumption of flavored milk. Flavored milk would have a limit on added sugars under both options.
The USDA plans to issue a final rule in time for schools to begin implementing a change in the 2024-2025 school year.
Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik released a statement last week saying in part, “This is totally unacceptable and I will do everything in my power to stop these efforts. Flavored milk is one the best ways for kids to get essential dairy nutrients for growth and development.”
Many studies have linked added sugars in drinks to health problems including obesity.
“There’s a big difference between soda and chocolate milk,” said New York Republican Assemblyman Chris Tague. “At least your child’s going to be getting the nutrients. There are some kids that don’t like the taste of regular milk, so they can still get those nutrients and vitamins that are in regular milk by drinking the chocolate milk.”
At the state level, Tague is sponsoring a bill that would bring back whole milk as an option for kids to have in school cafeterias.
“This bill is also about New York Dairy,” said Tague. “This would require the schools to bring back dairy first to help enhance and help our dairy farmers.”
The bill recently failed in the Assembly, but Tague isn’t giving up. He has a petition on social media and plans to reintroduce the legislation.