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Chocolate milk ban in school cafeterias reportedly considered by USDA

Old-school favorite chocolate milk may come off the menu at public schools
Old-school favorite chocolate milk may come off the menu at public schools 01:58

BOSTON – A nice cold glass of chocolate milk. Nothing beats it, right? Not everyone agrees.

The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture is weighing a ban on flavored milk for elementary and middle school students. 

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.

"I'm a nurse myself. I think that it probably doesn't help juvenile diabetes," said Caroline Lucas, picking up her child from school in Watertown.

Boston Public Schools have already removed it from cafeterias, but other schools like Watertown still offer chocolate milk.

"I think that's more of my job as a parent to tell them what they should and shouldn't be able to have, versus the school telling them," Watertown mom Tracy Harrington said.

But New England Dairy, which represents local dairy producers, says flavored milk has important benefits.

"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."

Boston University nutrition professor Dr. Joan Salge Blake said schools and parents should compromise.

"Take half of your sweetened milk in a cup, the other half just plain low fat or skim milk, viola! You have a cup of sweetened milk beverage that will be less sugar per gulp," Blake said.

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

"From a public-health perspective, it makes a lot of sense to try to limit the servings of these flavored milks 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.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a decision on flavored milk from the USDA is expected early next year and would take effect for the 2025-26 school year. 

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