Connecticut lawmakers have passed legislation that would ban chocolate milk in the state's public schools. The legislation was passed in order to help the state comply with new federal school lunch standards that have been championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
Supporters of the ban claim the high levels of sodium in chocolate milk is the reason for the ban.
But, the American Heart Association says the benefits of flavored milk outweigh any sodium concerns. And, some health experts warn that the chocolate milk ban will result in students not receiving enough calcium and other nutrients that are found in the drink.
"What concerns me is that if chocolate milk is not one of the available options, then students will decrease consumption of milk overall," said Lonnie Burt, chief nutritionist of Hartford public schools.
And, Rep. Timothy Ackert, the ranking Republican on the Education Committee, says that legislative attorneys told Connecticut lawmakers that they must adopt the provision or they would risk losing federal funds under the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.
The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, passed in 2010, "authorizes funding and sets policy for USDA's core child nutrition programs" - rewarding schools that submit to the federal government's will regarding school lunch choices.
The chocolate milk ban bill passed 144-0 in the Connecticut house and was approved unanimously in the State Senate.
The bill now awaits the signature of Democratic Governor Daniel P. Malloy.