Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in writing to Mayor Eric Adams calling on him to abandon his proposal to ban flavored milk in New York City Schools.
“Mayor Adams’ priorities are out-of-touch. Instead of cracking down on the many crises plaguing New York City, including a violent crime crisis spurred on by Far-Left policies that demean the police, New York City Mayor Eric Adams is focused on banning chocolate milk in New York City schools. In Upstate New York and the North Country, our dairy farmers work hard to produce nutritious milk for our communities. Flavored milk is one of the best ways for kids to gain essential dairy nutrients, and I will continue to work to increase milk access for students across New York public schools.”
In the letter, the lawmakers point out that over two-thirds of milk served in school is flavored and is an essential way that kids get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
Read the full letter here or below:
Dear Mayor Adams: We write to share our concern with the potential elimination of flavored milk in New York City schools.
Over two-thirds of milk served in school is flavored, which represents an essential way that kids get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Research finds that children who drink flavored milk consume more nutrients of concern like calcium, vitamin D, and potassium compared to non-flavored milk drinkers. Further, leading health groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the School Nutrition Association, and the American Heart Association also acknowledge the important role that flavored milk plays in ensuring kids get the three cups of milk and milk products recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Studies have shown that reducing or eliminating the availability of flavored milk in schools has led to overall decreased milk consumption and increased food waste. In fact, a study of Oregon schools by Cornell found total daily milk sales declined by 9.9% when flavored milk was removed from the cafeteria and was associated with 6.8% fewer students eating lunch. When flavored milk was returned to the Los Angeles Unified School District after a five-year ban, there was a 78% reduction in milk waste. In addition, there was an increase in the number of school lunches served. Studies have also shown that flavored milk consumption is not associated with weight gain or even a higher total daily sugar intake in children.
Further, most flavored milks contain less sugar than the cap recommended by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Specifically, NASEM recommends that flavored milk have no more than 22 grams of total sugar per eight-ounce serving. Lactose is the source of roughly 12 grams of sugar in milk, and as of August 2016, the Milk Processor Education Program estimated the average amount of added sugar in flavor milk to be roughly 7.5 grams, for a total of less than 20 grams of sugar.
As Members representing both rural and urban communities, we are committed to supporting the dairy farmers, producers, and agriculture partners across New York, while also ensuring that children in NYC schools have access to critical, life-enhancing nutrients. Unfortunately, for many NYC families, the meals children receive in schools are their only source of many recommended nutrients.
Members of Congress from New York and across the country support expanded access to flavored milk in schools. The bipartisan School Milk Nutrition Act (H.R. 4635) and Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act (H.R. 1861) would both expand flavored milk options in school lunchrooms and have received support from members of the New York Congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle.
We strongly urge you to continue offering children the choice of flavored milk each and every day in New York City schools. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.