Chocolate milk ban would affect nearly all of Norwalk students

NORWALK, Conn. — A plan to ban chocolate milk is not sitting well with Norwalk Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons.

“I think this is typical regulatory overkill from Hartford (typically unthought-out),” Lyons said in an email, specifying that it was “just my personal reaction, not the Board’s.”

The state legislature, on the last night of the legislative session, unanimously passed a bill effectively banning the sale of chocolate milk at schools, according to CTNewsJunkie. State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) did not return two NancyOnNorwalk emails on the topic this week, but Gov. Dannel Malloy said recently that he does not support banning chocolate milk.

“This specific bill has not yet come to the Governor’s desk and will be reviewed in detail when it arrives,” said Andrew Doba, Director of Communications for Malloy, in a statement. “However, on the broader topic at hand, the Governor is not supportive of banning chocolate milk in public schools.  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.”

Norwalk Public Schools Coordinator of School Health Services Grace Vetter MA, RN, NCSN said in an email that 8 ounces of milk (of any type) accounts for 9 grams of calcium, or 30 percent of  a student’s daily calcium requirement.

“Whitsons Food Service assures me that they will be notified when and if this becomes a USDA regulation,” she wrote. “Food Service estimates that 75-80 percent of students who take milk at lunch time choose the low-fat chocolate milk over the other options (low-fat or skimmed milk).”

Chocolate milk is not offered at breakfast, she wrote.

NPS Communications Director Brenda Williams had slightly different statistics.

“Lunches at Norwalk Public Schools includes either fat free milk, 1 prcent milk, or fat free chocolate milk,” she wrote in an email. “I don’t have numbers, but our food service folks at Whitson’s estimate that chocolate represents close to 90 percent of the milk sold in Norwalk lunches.”

CTNewsJunkie offers information from a dietician:

Pat Baird, a registered dietitian nutritionist and the president of the Connecticut Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said that the language means that chocolate milk would be eliminated from school lunches because there is no chocolate milk without sodium.

“This will have a significant impact on school meal participation and ultimately nutrient intake for students,” Baird said. “School chocolate milk has between 60 and 90 mg added sodium, which is only 2 to 4 percent of sodium intake in a day. Removing chocolate milk hardly moves the needle on added sodium intake; but what it does remove is critical nutrients for growth and development.”

“Both the nutritionist you quote and our own head nurse indicate that the nutritional harm coming from this decision will outweigh any benefit,” Lyons wrote. “This reminds me of Twain’s quip that ‘no man’s liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.’”


16 responses to “Chocolate milk ban would affect nearly all of Norwalk students”

  1. anon

    It will be interesting to hear why Bob Duff voted to ban chocolate milk.

  2. Lifelong Teacher

    Before we getting all excite about whether or or we allow chocolate milk, take a look at the rest of the meals we are offering children.

  3. Lisa Len

    The issue with chocolate milk lies in the amount if sugar our kids consume, and the hidden sugars in processed foods. We’re educating the kids that any milk is better than none. Why not educate them on the best choices instead of a ban on choice?

  4. Lisa Thomson

    When a legislature can’t or won’t address the larger issues in education, they focus on minutia.
    NON – guess you can add the chocolate milk vote/ position to your state legislative candidate position profiles 🙂

  5. EveT

    The headlines calling it a “ban” are exaggerating. Students can bring chocolate milk from home all they want. Under this law, chocolate milk isn’t banned. It just won’t be sold or provided in free lunches.

  6. Fred Wilms

    Chocolate milk should be provided. This ban is silly.

  7. Suzanne

    Lisa Thomson, exactly right.

  8. Artie Kassimis

    Our legislators’ efforts are a bit misguided. Rather than focusing on the essentials of governance, balancing the state budget and maybe, just maybe, changing the ECS formula, they take chocolate milk away from our kids.

  9. If government is going to interfere with our lives then let it be with those living off the government – let’s remove chocolate milk from kids receiving free lunches but for the rest of us – it should be our choice.
    As for the rest of this story – it is just hysterical that the focus is on the chocolate milk and not the crap they actually feed the kids. My dog wouldn’t even eat it.

  10. Casey Smith


    Just want to point out that Whitson’s menu is dictated by Federal guidelines and District policy.

  11. @Casey,
    And yet my dog still won’t eat it….

    Remember, this is the same government that tried to get ketsup classified as a veggies so the school “meets requirements”…

    Sorry Casey, you need to think more about what the government actually means by “helping” their citizens…

  12. Lifelong Teacher

    Lily is right, Let’s focus on the rest of the meal. It is an embarrassment and we should be ashamed. Breakfast is sugary cereal, cookies, and fruit juice. Lunch is just as bad, often a plate of brown/beige slop and while my dog might eat it, my own children never did.

    With some of our schools hovering around a 70% free and reduced lunch eligibility rate, many of our kids rely on this stuff for 2/3 of their daily meals. We need to do better.

  13. Suzanne

    NON Headline this morning: Nonpartisan analysts predict $2.8 billion budget deficit for 2016-17

    Chocolate milk?

  14. Hobbes.the.Calvinist

    Given the constitutional right for a young child to sport a chocolate milk moustache, it’s good to see Candidate “Flip” Wilms has taken a decisive stand on an issue fundamental to our children’s way of life.

  15. How about offering children whole milk?

    Ban non organic hot dogs, chicken nuggets(unless breast cuts), slime burgers (only real meat).

    Feeding the children at school should do two things.
    1) Give them the best possible nutrition (it might be the one REAL meal that child receives!!)
    2) Teach the children about proper nutrition.
    If they are eating hot dogs, burgers, non chicken chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, along with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… well, they need to learn what REAL food tastes like. Any of those items in moderation is not BAD…but when they only eat that…is IS BAD.

    just my thoughts…. Chocolate milk is not a drink..it is a dessert.


  16. https://www.google.com/webhp?hl=en&tab=ww#hl=en&q=chocolate+milk+vs+whole+milk+calories

    Just in case someone is wondering if the calories in WHOLE milk are greater than chocolate milk.

    You can click and see but because whole milk has half the sugar of Skim chocolate milk…it actually has 61 calories vs 75 for the reduced fat Chocolate milk)- whole milk has fewer carbs and a touch more protein.

    The bigger issue to me is … building a need to added SUGAR in everything… is a problem — articularly in this time of childhood obesity and diabetes.

    Marie Antoinette may not have really said of the disgruntled peasants “Let them eat cake.” but that sentiment is not something we need to execute. (no pun intended)

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