According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a ban on flavored milk, including chocolate and strawberry, in elementary and middle schools. In neighboring New York, school cafeterias are going full throttle on this move and the big question that is being asked: Will this proposal cross over into The Bay State? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Schoolboy holding plate of lunch in school cafeteria smiling at camera

The move is being challenged in The Empire State as 21st District Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has prided herself on her advocacy for agriculture and area dairy farmers that she represents and her protest has resonated in the halls of our nation's capital. Representative Stefanik remains emphatic to keep this ban from becoming reality:

attachment-Elise Stefanik

(Photo of Rep. Elise Stefanik courtesy of her Twitter page)

"I will always lead the fight to save chocolate milk and protect our Upstate New York and the North Country dairy farmers. When New York City Mayor Eric Adams tried to ban chocolate milk, I led the successful effort to fight back and won on behalf of families and farmers. 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".

Just over a year ago, Stefanik began her quest to prevent the banning of flavored milk which falls under the federal school lunch program along with an amendment to the already existing Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act.

tracy tucker
tracy tucker

Erica Lauren Kenney, a nutrition professor with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, looks at this move in a different angle as she stresses from a public health perspective that it makes a lot of sense to try to limit servings of these flavored milks because they do have quite a lot of added sugar. Massachusetts dairy farmers are in the loop putting their two cents in this matter as the move won't necessarily be a good thing for kids' health and it would have a negative impact. Boston Public Schools have already removed this option from cafeterias.

Farm pic with cows

Randy Jordan, the co-owner of Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts believes flavored milk options also provide youngsters with getting the calcium needed as the move saw a one-third  increase in students opting for school lunch rather than bringing it from home. New England Dairy represents local dairy producers reiterated that flavored milk has important benefits.

The caveat to all this controversy: This does not apply to high school students as they will still be allowed to purchase flavored milk on a daily basis. Proponents think the attempt to limit kids' sugar intake is a good idea, however critics worry that discouraging the consumption of flavored milk will lead youngsters to consume less nutritional options. A final decision on the proposed flavored milk ban from the USDA is expected in early 2024, and it would be implemented during the 2025-2026 school year.

BOTTOM LINE: The whole idea of banning flavored milk is ludicrous in nature. If this helps children obtain their quota for nutritional needs, then leave it alone. Plus, moderation is always the key to anything in life.

(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of CBS6-WRGB-TV, CBS4-Boston-WBZ-TV and Spectrum News, Worcester, MA)

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