Local dairy farmers fear impact of potential chocolate milk ban in NYC schools

Local News

LIVINGSTON COUNTY, N.Y. (WROC) — Chocolate milk is a school lunch staple, but it could soon be a thing of the past. The New York City School District says the favorite drink is too sugary. 

They say children who drink chocolate milk consume 30 more calories than regular milk and an additional eight grams of sugar. Equalling more than six pounds of sugar per child each school year.

On the other side of the debate the state’s Farm Bureau says chocolate milk provides essential nutrients children need. Adding the ban could impact more than 4,000 dairy farmers across New York state including in our area.

“City schools do purchase a large amount of milk and for kids who aren’t able to drink it the milk at school they’re not going to get the nutrients they need. If they just have the white milk, it ends up being a huge waste and kids aren’t going to choose the white milk as much so it’s lower sales for us as well,” said Emilie Mulligan, with Mulligan Farms in Avon. 

But some upstate lawmakers are criticizing the proposal. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik along with two other upstate representatives have written a letter to New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, saying the ban would be another blow to dairy farmers. 

“The idea of kids not being able to drink just leads to people purchasing milk. It’s kind of a compound effect that’s already an issue of people not drinking milk,” said Mulligan. “So we really want to have kids have that option because they’re more likely to continue to purchase. So it’s for future purchasing decisions as other schools could take this and follow up with it.” 

Officials said this is just a proposal. A final decision has not yet been made.

School districts in San Francisco and Washington D.C.  have already banned flavored milk.

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