USDA finalizing new rules for school meals, chocolate milk ban possible

Added sugars to be limited, such as chocolate milk
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:32 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - We know milk is good for growing bones, but the chocolate milk you remember from school lunches could soon be a thing of the past. The USDA is finalizing new rules for the 2024-25 school year that limit flavored milk and added sugars.

Related: USDA, Dairy companies launch commitment to provide schools with healthier milk

A few years ago, supply chain issues left Holt Public Schools without chocolate milk for about three months.

“When chocolate was off of the table, our consumption overall, remembering back to my invoicing, we were about 50% less,” said Evan Robertson, the Director of Food Services at HPS.

Their school’s director of food services said it’s a tricky topic. He said Americans consume too much added sugar and sodium, but the food still needs to be enjoyable.

“Frankly in my view, and I know some views from the dairy council have been too, if it’s at least chocolate milk it’s better than no milk at all,” said Robertson.

While chocolate milk is a fan favorite at Holt Public Schools, coming in at 7 grams of added sugar, a lower sugar substitute could be possible with the new regulations.

“It’s a bad idea because one person’s idea of what they think is the right amount of sugar, to somebody else, it’s not,” said James Robinson, Mid-Michigan grandparent.

Mid-Michigan residents told News 10 a healthy diet is a good idea, but the federal government regulating kid’s lunches is not.

“It’s okay to take out some of the stuff, you know but not all of it. Kids need to have a treat every now and then even if it’s at lunch,” said Sarah Soriano, Mid-Michigan grandparent.

The USDA working to cut added sugars, while some hope for a sweeter deal.

None of the proposed updates to school meals are final yet. The USDA said it will make a final decision, with enough time for schools to prepare for the 2024-25 school year.

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