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Flavored Milk in Schools Faces Scrutiny

USDA is considering a ban on flavored milk in elementary and middle schools, including chocolate and strawberry milk, as it works on new standards for school meals, reports The Wall Street Journal. High amounts of added sugar are fueling the concern.

The supporters of flavored milk restrictions believe that added sugar is contributing to childhood obesity, and facilitating preferences for overly sweet drinks, while opponents, including many in the dairy industry, say that flavored milks' removal will mean children will drink less milk, thus lowering their intake of calcium and other nutrients.

The USDA is considering banning flavored milk from either, or both, elementary and middle schools, or continuing to allow them but setting new added sugar limits.

“Flavored milk is a challenging issue to figure out exactly the best path forward,” Cindy Long, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administrator, said, explaining why the agency is weighing its options. “We really do want to encourage children to consume milk and we also recognize the need to reduce added-sugar consumption.”

The dairy industry is working to ensure milk options remain available in schools. In April, milk processers representing over 90 percent of the U.S. school milk volume, pledged their commitment to providing flavored milk options with 10 or fewer grams of added sugar per carton, consistent with the USDA’s new proposed limits for school milk. Full Story (Subscription Required)

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