Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy will not sign a bill to ban chocolate milk from school lunchrooms statewide.
As the legislative session wrapped up on Wednesday, state lawmakers passed legislation that would have made revisions to the education statutes to comply with new federal school lunch standards on sodium. The amendment would have eliminated chocolate milk from schools.
But critics warned that banning chocolate milk could change kids' lunchtime habits for the worse.
“This specific bill has not yet come to the Governor’s desk and will be reviewed in detail when it arrives. However, on the broader topic at hand, the Governor is not supportive of banning chocolate milk in public schools," Andrew Doba, Malloy's communication director, said in an e-mailed statement. "While we must be extremely mindful of the nutritional value of what’s offered to students, ensuring an appropriate array of options helps to ensure that kids receive the calcium and other nutrients they need.”
Lonnie Burt, the chief nutritionist of Hartford Public Schools, had concerns about the impact this legislation would have on children’s nutrition. Chocolate milk provides calcium, vitamin A, potassium and other nutrients, she said.
“What concerns me is that if chocolate milk is not one of the available options, then I believe students will decrease consumption of milk overall,” Burt said.
The American Heart Association seems to agree and said the nutritional value of milk, even flavored milk, outweighs concerns about the amount of sodium in diets.
At the Environmental Sciences Magnet School in Hartford, chocolate milk is popular, and students don’t like the idea of getting rid of it.
“Everyone likes it. The majority of the school wants it, and not many people like regular milk,” seventh-grader Maddy Lanzi said.