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Lawmakers Ban Chocolate Milk From School Menus

by | May 14, 2014 4:16pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Education, Health Care

istock Stuffed into a bill that makes “minor revisions” to education statutes that passed both chambers on the final night of the legislative session was a provision mandating what type of beverages can be served in schools.

The amended bill says “low-fat milk that is unflavored or fat-free milk that is flavored or unflavored that contains no artificial sweeteners, nonnutritive sweeteners or sugar alcohols, no added sodium and no more than four grams of sugar per ounce” will be able to be served. Also, the milk must not receive more than 35 percent of the calories from fat per portion and no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat per portion. Fruit or vegetable juices must have no added sugars or sweeteners or caffeine.

The legislation also dictates the size of beverages. Aside from water, no beverage shall exceed 8 fluid ounces for elementary schools and 12 ounces for middle and high schools.

Pat Baird, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the president of the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said that the language means that chocolate milk would be eliminated from school lunches because there is no chocolate milk without sodium.

“This will have a significant impact on school meal participation and ultimately nutrient intake for students,” Baird said. “School chocolate milk has between 60-90 mg added sodium, which is only 2-4 percent of sodium intake in a day. Removing chocolate milk hardly moves the needle on added sodium intake; but what it does remove is critical nutrients for growth and development.”

She said the majority of the milk sold in schools is chocolate and “research has shown that when chocolate milk is not served, milk consumption drops 35 percent and does not recover.”

Rep. Timothy Ackert, the ranking Republican on the Education Committee, said they were told by legislative attorneys that they had to adopt the provision based on the federal Hunger-Free Kids Act. He said they were told they couldn’t change the language and if they did they could risk losing federal funds headed to the state.

But he said the no-sodium provision causes some concerns since some bottled water also contains traces of sodium. He said they are still working to find out how much leeway the state Education Department has regarding the sodium provision. The state contracts with Coca-Cola, which sells Dasani bottled water with traces of sodium.

As for the underlying bill and how it treats chocolate milk, Ackert said he believes the “benefits far outweigh the negatives” and he hopes they can find a solution.

Lawmakers proposed the bill because they were concerned with childhood obesity.

Sen. President Donald Williams testified in February on a similar bill that would have similarly eliminated whole milk from childcare facilities. That bill didn’t pass, but during his testimony he cited a Centers for Disease Control report that found that “the leading source of added sugar among children is sugar-sweetened drinks.”

John Bailey II of the American Heart Association was the only one to testify in favor of the beverage provision in March during the public hearing on the bill.

“Even if students eat a healthy lunch, research shows they often still consume excess calories from a la carte items their cafeteria might serve,” Bailey told the Education Committee. “That’s why clearly defining nutritional standards for milks and setting the standards for healthier beverage options is critical for improving children’s diets and reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.”

It passed 144-0 in the House and also was approved unanimously in the Senate.

If Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signs the bill the new beverage rules will go into effect on July 1.

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(25) Archived Comments

posted by: Bluecoat | May 14, 2014  5:07pm


The chocolate milk police strike again!

posted by: Bluecoat | May 14, 2014  5:10pm

“Rep. Timothy Ackert, the ranking Republican on the Education Committee, said they were told by legislative attorneys that they had to adopt the provision based on the federal Hunger-Free Kids Act. He said they were told they couldn’t change the language and if they did they could risk federal funds headed to the state. “
Once again we are the dumbest people on Earth!
We can’t do anything without the Federal Money.
When will any adult in the Legislature tell the Feds to go jump off the Bridgewater Pier in Stamford without a life vest?

posted by: Greg | May 14, 2014  5:34pm

That’s odd, I drank chocolate milk in grade school and didn’t get fat or sick.  What did I do wrong? Shouldn’t I be obese and diabetic by now?

posted by: Historian | May 14, 2014  5:57pm

the nanny element strikes again - a small thing but enough to encourage even more migration from Connecticut.

posted by: Bluecoat | May 14, 2014  8:13pm

We are living a real life “Idiocracy” here in CT.
Mike Judge’s 2006 movie Idiocrazy describes CT today.  We couldn’t vote in dumber people to the State Legislature if we tried.
Put this right up there with Sheryl Crow’s idea to regulate that we only use one piece of toilet paper per restroom visit
Anyone know when the CT economy will turn around? How about which Generation of CT residents will actually pay off the pension liability that’s killing CT? Anyone? I know Rep. Betsey Ritter’s hoarder tax is looking better every day.

posted by: justsayin | May 14, 2014  10:24pm

WOW, WOW, WOW. Is there anything these people will not stick their nose in. Benefits outweigh negatives, really how? Let them be kids, a box.of chocolate milk will harm no one. Using the fed money cop out, side step accountability. Rhis is not for the kids.

posted by: art vandelay | May 15, 2014  4:29am

art vandelay

This is beyond ridiculous.

posted by: art vandelay | May 15, 2014  4:31am

art vandelay

Pizza on Friday is next.

posted by: Diogenese | May 15, 2014  6:31am

Legislation passed in the dark of night, with no input from the Plebes is never good. I’d say this takes the cake, but they probably banned that, too.

posted by: Bluecoat | May 15, 2014  7:02am

Meanwhile, third party access to your kids personal and private data, including health records will still occur, throught the electronic assessments in our schools, and included in our Statewidwe Longitudinal Data base.
Good job legislature. You saved the world with this Bill.

posted by: Nutmeg87 | May 15, 2014  8:59am

Just when you thought the idiocy, hypocracy, buffoonery, audacity (i’m sure i left out much more…) they do this in Hartford !!!!

Just another example of idiots making decisions when they know NOTHING about reality…  Nobody know everything, but why not just ask CURRENT DAY PARENTS…

My 4 kids in grade school just dont eat what they dont want to eat…  Its very superficial that the State requires the 5 balance meal approach; however, kids will be kids…  The lunch staff does NOT force the kids to eat, and will not even serve most times if the kids dont want it (just will be thrown out - waste is another issue rampant here)...  If you know kids, you have to find a happy medium to REACH REAL RESULTS…  Chocolate Milk; although, not the ABSOLUTE healthiest, IS A HIGH VALUE SUBSTITUTE for regular milk that WILL BE CHOSEN TO CONSUME…  So now the kids will just throw out or not take the regular milk… 

So basically we pay for a meal that is 1/4 consumed… 

We already know that these guys promote waste everywhere…  But how much confidence can you have with Hartford in making decisions for kids when they’ve proven here to KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT KIDS IN REAL WORLD…

posted by: Anne R | May 15, 2014  9:32am

Seriously? I have a friend whose child dislikes milk and will drink it ONLY if it’s chocolate milk. Law makers are taking away our choice? Oh, please! Talk about a ridiculous piece of legislation.

posted by: Bluecoat | May 15, 2014  9:44am

I’ll bet we will fully legalize Marijuana before we let kids drink Chocolate Milk again. There is a reason why someone wanted to decrease the distance from 1,000 feet to 500 feet when getting caught with selling drugs near our schools.
How many connected people have vacant buildings near schools and would like to fill that vacancy with a Medical Marijuana dispensary, especially if the distance law is revised?

posted by: SocialButterfly | May 15, 2014  10:46am

Good work. Sugar in our food products is an alarming health hazard for people. Chocolate milk for our children isn’t a healthy choice.  That’s why babies aren’t given chocolate milk as a substitute for pure milk.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | May 15, 2014  12:38pm

I don’t know what all the criticism is about. Most certainly banning chocolate milk in school is much more important that doing anything about the fiscal balance. We must have our priorities, mustn’t we? And we can’t even point the finger at one party; they are both complicit in this insanity.

posted by: GBear423 | May 15, 2014  1:53pm


Meh, do away with cafeterias. when its this complicated, why bother anymore. or just water and fresh vegetable buffet carts.

Fools don’t care if its necessary govt intrusion, they just want govt intrusion so it becomes the norm… get it?

posted by: Bluecoat | May 15, 2014  3:45pm

Sorry to keep posting on this, but
The USDA has a request to bid out there for .40 Caliber Sub-machine guns.
So I guess next year if the kids get caught with Chocolate milk in school, the USDA is coming armed and ready???

posted by: Greg | May 15, 2014  4:29pm

@ NoNonsense:  Kids have been drinking chocolate milk in school for decades; only now is there a public health crisis from fatness and associated diseases in children. Hence, kids for generations did not get fat off of chocolate milk.

There is no need for a law banning chocolate milk. Period.

posted by: StillRevolting | May 15, 2014  7:26pm

Please read the article above for indications of why I can’t stand our current government and want it out of my pocket and my life. They take another dollar (generally the means by which we are able to enjoy exercising our remaining freedoms) or remove another choice (directly reducing freedom) with total disregard for the constructs that made this the great nation it was. Just more proof that Hartford and Washington are nothing more than open sewers full of bad ideas intent only on growing and sustaining themselves while strangling the American Dream for those of us who still dare to believe in it. Gus Hall for President? At least you knew where he stood and, I’m pretty sure he’s still dead so, unlike the living wastes of breath we have to choose from, he can’t do any more damage. I realize how absurd that is but will ask if it is any more so than banning chocolate milk.

posted by: SocialButterfly | May 15, 2014  7:28pm

Gov. Malloy is unable to control spending or taxes—but at least he has put a cap on chocolate milk. He doesn’t need any help from Joe Lieberman—who probably
does not drink the liquid either.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | May 16, 2014  8:01am

@ Greg: You may have misunderstood: my comment was meant as sarcasm. A law banning chocolate milk in schools is ludicrous, especially since ANY milk in schools these days is low-fat or fat-free. And for our legislators to waste ANY time on this issue, in light of the state’s serious issues that didn’t get fixed, is infuriating. And since this stupid bill was passed unanimously, BOTH parties can share the “credit”.

posted by: Anne R | May 16, 2014  12:56pm

One way to get around this stupid law is for the kids to bring their own chocolate milk in a Thermos. What are they going to do, take the Thermos away from the child and arrest the parents?

posted by: SocialButterfly | May 16, 2014  8:10pm

It’s not illegal for school-children to bring powdered chocolate milk to school and mix it with water—to protest this stupid law—coming from stupid politicians. Why have “our not smarter than 5th graders” not banned soda pop from our schools.  Soda pop has no nutritional value and contains some unhealthy ingredients—so they ban a healthy ingredient chocolate milk instead.  Our elected politicians use this same sick psychology in spending the state blind and taxes us to death.  Another nail in our state coffin from Gov. Malloy and our General Assembly. It’s time to sweep them out of office by not wasting your vote on the political loser-ship now in control of our hapless destiny. Shame on the voters of Connecticut—if they reelect Malloy and our failed legislative body.

posted by: art vandelay | May 16, 2014  11:24pm

art vandelay

@Anne R & CommonSense,
As I recall as a substitute teacher, students are no longer able to bring metal lunch boxes & Thermos Bottles to school. They are considered “weapons” that can cause harm to other students.  Vinyl lunch boxes are the only kind allowed.  Unless Chocolate Milk can be brought into school in a Jucie Box, it’s persona non grada.

posted by: lkulmann | May 17, 2014  12:30am

Rep. Timothy Ackert, the ranking Republican on the Education Committee, said they were told by legislative attorneys that they had to adopt the provision based on the federal Hunger-Free Kids Act. He said they were told they couldn’t change the language and if they did they could risk losing federal funds headed to the state…................

Dear Mr Ackert, a child’s health, education and nutritional needs often take precedence over federal dollars. Somehow I think you know that but I wanted to be sure. The legislative attorneys need to hear it as well apparently. The Education Committee should step up and act as more of a consultant or an authority in the area of childrens nutritional needs in the education arena. The Education Committee is representing education for kids and their best interests. Is your focus on kids or money?

It passed 144-0 in the House and also was approved unanimously in the Senate…................

Ditto to the House and Senate.
Think of it like this; I know that federal money and salivating lawyers are involved but if the choices for YOUR kid is
a) healthy and educated
b) unhealthy and educated
c) pfffft, who cares
Which would it be?

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