New Battle Lines Drawn Over Chocolate Milk

More than 9 months ago, when I first starting writing The Daily Feed, my first post in this space was called Chocolate Milk, Fried or Foe? It came on the heels of a new ad campaign sponsored by the Milk Processor Marketing Group and the National Dairy Council, and chronicled vigorous efforts to counteract attacks on the age-old practice of serving the sweetened brown beverage in schools.

With a new academic year dawning, the issue has re-emerged, in force. Recently in the New York Times, journalist Kim Severson writes about both sides of the debate, noting that chocolate milk will no longer appear in public schools in Washington, DC, Berkeley, California, or Boulder, Colorado. A similar measure, she writes, is under consideration in Florida.

The counterargument – that the flavored milk should stay – has some deep pockets behind it, as flavored milks make up well over half of the school milk served nationwide. No one knows how many children would transition seamlessly from flavored to plain white milk were a ban to take place, though I imagine statistics like this will begin to appear as the issue gains traction.

Parents, meanwhile, are split, as are nutritionists. Some question removal of a nutrient-rich beverage despite its high sugar content, while others question why it should be on the menu at all, given current efforts to improve the health profile of school food and teach kids better dietary practices.

Do you agree with Ann Cooper, who says that chocolate milk is soda in drag? Or with those who believe that it's simply no big deal? Regardless of your current position on the issue, you're likely to hear more about it in the coming months.

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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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