The Biden Administration’s control over your children’s school lunches has taken yet another alarming turn as the USDA is considering banning chocolate milk from elementary schools. This is all part of their plan to reduce children’s sugar intake, but have they considered the consequences of removing flavored milk from schools? Republicans are worried about this ban as it could potentially limit children’s dairy intake which is a crucial source of protein and nutrients.
The USDA is weighing a ban on chocolate milk and other flavored milks in elementary and middle school cafeterias, but critics say it could lead to children drinking less milk https://t.co/l5ndRDuaN1
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) May 15, 2023
Cindy Long, administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place over the flavored milk issue, telling The Wall Street Journal, “Flavored milk is a challenging issue to figure out exactly the best path forward. We really do want to encourage children to consume milk and we also recognize the need to reduce added-sugar consumption.” It appears their intentions are purely based on their new, sugar-free standards, but what about the kids who refuse to drink plain white milk?
According to Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, flavored milk is a major source of sugar in school meals, which may be true, but who is to say that children will want to drink plain milk? The USDA mandates that school districts must serve at least two types of milk, including skim, plain, or 1%. School districts are also forbidden from serving whole or 2% milk. The only exception to this rule is flavored milk which can be offered if it is fat-free or 1%.
The push to remove flavored milk from schools is set to be enforced on elementary and middle school meals sometime in the 2025-2026 school year. Nonetheless, distributors who supply 90% of the milk to schools have pledged in April to limit their flavored beverages to 10 grams of added sugar per 8 ounces, which aligns with the new USDA requirements. It is not yet clear whether the USDA will implement the ban for elementary schools, but they have already put in place new restrictions for flavored beverages in schools.
It is not right for the government to deny children an opportunity to drink flavored milk in schools. Not all children enjoy plain milk, and this ban may actually reduce children’s overall milk intake and negatively affect child development as milk is a crucial source of essential vitamins and nutrients. The main objective of the USDA should be to encourage healthy eating habits among children by promoting healthy, accessible food options that they will enjoy, not dictating their choices and taking away options they enjoy.