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.