As kids make their way back to the classroom, flavored milks are making their way back to the lunchroom.
Due to federal regulation last year, schools in Pennsylvania previously had to sign a waiver in order to serve flavored milk during breakfast and lunch, according to abc27News.This year, the waiver has been lifted and school districts are encouraged to take advantage of it.
“There are few foods or beverages that can offer the substantial nutritional benefits of milk,” said Michael Smith, the Executive Deputy Secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in a news interview. “It’s also important, again, from an economic perspective. Dairy by far is the largest contributor to our agriculture economy.”
In 2011, Los Angeles school districts banned flavored milk in cafeterias because of their sugar content. The district also reported that kids were not consuming the milk and were discarding approximately 600 tons of half-full cartons away.
Five years later, L.A. schools lifted the ban as an attempt to encourage school children to drink more milk.
Introduced in 2017, the School Milk Nutrition Act has allowed schools to offer low-fat and fat-free milk, including flavored milk with no more than 150 calories per 8-ounce serving, to participants in the federal school lunch and breakfast programs.
“Milk is the number-one source of nine essential vitamins and minerals in children’s diets, and when its consumption drops, the overall nutritional intake of America’s kids is jeopardized,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.
With more milk options available for Pennsylvania school children, could we see a rise in dairy consumption in schools?