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Chocolate milk ban close to coming to Connecticut schools

Posted at 3:45 AM, May 16, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-16 03:45:37-04

Rocky Hill, CT (WFSB) — A chocolate milk ban could be coming to school cafeterias around Connecticut.

Lawmakers signed off on the bill and pushed it to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s desk for his signature. They said it boils down to federal funding.

“I know several kids who won’t drink any milk if it’s not chocolate,” said Mary Manwaring of Rocky Hill.

Mary Manwaring’s daughter Bethany said when given the choice, she always chose chocolate.

“It has chocolate in it and I like chocolate,” fourth-grader Bethany Manwaring said.

As a mother, Mary Manwaring said she won’t fight that argument because at the end of the day, Bethany was still getting nutrients from the milk.

All of that could change after state legislators approved a bill that would ban that and some juices from public schools.

Under the proposal, the only thing that would be served is low-fat unflavored milk and beverages with no artificial sweeteners, no added sodium and no more than four grams of sugar per ounce.

With high fructose corn syrup and 200 milligrams of sodium on the label, chocolate milk would not make the cut.

“They’re going to be pretty upset because most of the class drinks chocolate milk,” Bethany said.

“If it’s a little bit of chocolate, it’s the least of our worries,” said Mary Manwaring.

Lawmakers said if they did not make the move, the state would not get money from the federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. It authorized and set policies for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s child nutrition programs, including school lunches.

However, child nutrition experts were not on board. Eyewitness News spoke with Jill Castle, a registered dietitian nutritionist from New Canaan.

“From a nutrient profile, you’re getting calcium, vitamin D, potassium, phosphorus and other nutrients,” she said.

Castle went on to say that when chocolate milk was removed, overall milk consumption among children went down.

Bethany said she saw it first-hand.

“With most milks, we only go through two bins, but for chocolate, we go through four bins,” she explained.

Eyewitness News reached out to the governor’s office. Officials said Malloy would review the bill.

If he signs it, it would take effect July 1 and the changes would be seen during the next school year.