Chocolate Milk Banned in Massachusetts Schools
Public Health Officials approved tough new guidelines for foods offered in public schools last week.
The Massachusetts Public Health Council voted last week to approve new food guidelines for all public state schools. This new criteria will eliminate chocolate milk as an option in cafeterias, vending machines or events in school.
Joining Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. in banning chocolate milk, Massachusetts is now considered one of the harshest states in the country when it comes to standards for food in schools. Some feel this is a positive trait; others fear becoming a “nanny state.”
The guidelines approved last week include requirements for schools to provide nutritional information and to limit the amounts of fat and sugar in the foods they offer students. The regulations ban sugary beverages and artificial sweeteners.
Of all the aspects of these newly adopted rules and regulations, it is the extinction of chocolate milk in schools that seems to be at the heart of the controversy here.
What is it about chocolate milk that makes people so defensive?
Perhaps there is something nostalgic about this iconic comfort food, reminding us of our own childhood. But, as many point out, chocolate milk also has some very real nutritional benefits.
Susan Finn, an area mother, said, “The calcium is so important for growing bodies. It is very difficult to get enough calcium from other food sources. This may be even more significant in the middle schools and high schools where kids might be more likely to pick up chocolate milk if it were presented. They seem to drink so many sodas and 'sports' drinks.”
Milk, be it regular, chocolate, strawberry, or any flavor at all, is absolutely packed with calcium, protein, vitamin D, phosphorus, and a slew of other vitamins and minerals. For many “picky eaters,” milk may be the only source of these essential components to health.
But supporters of these tough new mandates say the high fat and sugar content in flavored milk is contributing to the ever-growing obesity epidemic throughout the nation.
Jamie Oliver, the British celebrity chef that led the crusade to get Los Angeles schools to ban chocolate milk, says flavored milks can contain as much sugar as a candy bar.
Enforcement of the new regulations will begin as early as the start of the 2012 school year.