Fact Check: Is chocolate milk being banned in schools?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – New proposed nutrition standards are out from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. One of the updates for school lunches has chocolate milk in its cross-hairs. And that has created a firestorm,

If your child is drinking milk at school, chances are it’s the chocolate variety. According to a 2015 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, 70% of all milk consumed at school is flavored.

But, there have been a lot of stories this past week about a potential ban on chocolate milk in schools. So, is the USDA planning to do away with this childhood favorite? Here are the facts.

Currently, unflavored low-fat or fat-free milk must be offered, but flavored milk is allowed for children of all ages, so long as the milk is low-fat or fat-free.

The USDA is now looking at a possible change in the rules. According to the agency’s website, it is considering two options.

Option one would limit chocolate milk to grades nine through 12. Citing concerns about childhood obesity and diabetes, the USDA says the proposal is aimed at reducing young children’s exposure to added sugars at a time when their taste preferences are developing.

The USDA provided the following statement on their website:

“Flavored milk is the leading source of added sugars in both the school lunch and breakfast programs, contributing almost half of the added sugars in lunches and about 30% of the added sugars in breakfasts.”

Opponents of the suggested changes say chocolate milk is a great way for kids who don’t like unflavored milk to get the essential nutrients, and is still healthier than other sugary drinks.

Which brings us to the second option tp continue to allow flavored and unflavored milk for kids of all grades, but would limit added sugars.

The USDA is currently looking at public input on the two options. No final decision has been made. So as of Thursday, there is no ban on your child’s chocolate milk. That is still “To Be Determined.”

Any changes would impact all schools that take part in the national school lunch and breakfast programs. No word on when a decision will be made, but if adopted, the new guidelines would take effect in school year 2025-26.