- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New York City is facing criticism from across the state over reports of plans to potentially eliminate chocolate milk from the menus of local public schools.

Dairy farmers and several bipartisan members of the state’s congressional delegation raised concerns after the New York Post reported Sunday that the NYC Department of Education is considering banning chocolate milk in public schools because of its high sugar content.

The president of the New York Farm Bureau, David Fisher, and a handful of elected officials sent letters opposing the proposal to the head of the city’s Department of Education and Mayor Bill de Blasio, respectively.

“While we understand the intent is to serve healthy meals to children, this ban will have the opposite effect on children who receive meals at school and the nutrients they receive, as well as substantial economic impact on New York dairy farmers that are already experiencing hardship,” Mr. Fisher wrote on behalf of the group’s more than 4,000 dairy farmers to Richard Carranza, the chancellor of the NYC DOE.

“Banning flavored milk hurts our kids and our hardworking farmers,” the congress members wrote in their letter to Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat currently seeking the party’s presidential nomination. “The data shows that banning flavored milk results in less nutrients for kids, more waste in our lunchrooms and fewer jobs for our dairy workers.”

The letter urging Mr. de Blasio to reject any potential ban on chocolate milk was signed by six members of New York’s congressional delegation – Democratic Reps. Anthony Brandisi, Grace Meng, Antonio Delgado and Sean Patrick Maloney, and Republican Reps. Elise Stefanik and John Katko.

“Our priority is the health and well-being of our students, and every day, we offer a variety of healthy, delicious and free meal options that exceed USDA standards,” the NYC DOE said in a statement.

“No decision has been made about chocolate milk,” said the statement.

The average 8 oz. glass of chocolate skim milk contains 120 calories and 20 grams of sugar, including 8 grams of added sugar, while an 8 oz. glass of skim white milk has around 90 calories and 12 grams of sugar, none added, according to the New York City Department of Health.

Other major cities have successfully banned chocolate milk from public schools in the past, including D.C. in 2010. Some have seen mixed results, however, such as Los Angeles, where a similar ban enacted in 2011 was overturned five years later.

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