Monday, July 18, 2011

Massachussetts Bans Chocolate Milk

Massachusetts has become the first state in the country we know of to ban flavored milk systemwide in school vending machine, snack shops and a la carte lines. The move came last week in a decision by the state's Public Health Council to issue strict food standards for schools outside federally-subsidized cafeteria lines that will eliminate sugary drinks, french fries, high-calorie snack foods and white bread.

The council, composed of, health advocates, doctors and other professionals, also ordered smaller portion sizes for fruit juices, more servings of whole fruits and vegetables and water free of charge for all students.

With its strict new standards, Massachusetts joins Los Angeles and the District of Columbia in removing chocolate and other flavored milk products, although L.A and D.C. have removed milk with added sugar entirely, including the regular lunch line. The Health Council agreed to delay implementation of its limited ban until 2013 so that schools have time to teach children to drink plain milk.

“We knew that people were going to have strong feelings about this and were concerned that overall milk consumption would drop,’’ said Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director of the Department of Public Health. “We wanted to give schools time to prepare so it can be done in a seamless way.’’ Studies have shown that when flavored milk is banned, milk consumption drops slightly but then rebounds, she said.


  1. I thought the new law says that they have to limit milk and flavored milk to 22 grams of sugar per 8 ounces.

    If they go to a reduced sugar, no high fructose corn syrup chocolate milk, they can meet that requirement.

    That is what they serve in my child's school district. I'm reading the nutritionals online here and it says only 22 grams of sugar in the chocolate milk.

  2. Ed -- I thought I read that the rules will not apply to food served in schools' main cafeteria line because the federal government sets standards there. The ban is only for a la carte, vending, school stores, etc.

    Can you get clarification on that for us?

  3. Can you send a link to the nutrition standards the Council issued?

  4. Ed: This development in MA is for a la carte/competitive food ONLY. They are to my knowledge still serving flavored milk as part of the federally subsidized meal, just like the vast majority of school districts. Here is a link to the new rules:

  5. Important to note for those who are concerned about "nanny states" and who don't read past the headlines: Massachusetts did not ban flavored milk, it chose to discontinue sales of flavored milk. In fact, no school district that I know of actually banned flavored milk.

    Any kid can bring any beverage to school that they wish, and what's more, can bring sugar packets and cocoa or kool-aid and make it themselves with the milk that's sold at school (ick - but, yes, the option is there.)

  6. Bettina, thanks for sending that link. I've embedded it in the story for anyone who wants to see exactly what the Healthy Council did. Apologies again for getting the story wrong initially--my attention has been elsewhere the last week.

  7. No problem, Ed. I think some media reports about this development made it easy to conclude that change is happening across the board, and not just for competitive food.

  8. You didnt happen to move blogs did you? long time no "see"-hope all is well!