Milk processors commit to less added sugars in flavored school milk

Most fluid milk processors have agreed to limit the amount of added sugars in flavored school milk.

International Dairy Foods Association President Michael Dykes tells Brownfield the Healthy School Milk Commitment was a proactive effort, knowing USDA was proposing a rule to eliminate flavored milk from schools. “About eight percent of the nation’s milk supply goes to schools. Probably 80% of the milk in schools is flavored. Schoolchildren wouldn’t drink much milk if we didn’t offer the flavored milks so, I thought we couldn’t accept this. We’ve got to do something.”

Dykes says the proposed rule would have a big negative impact on dairy farmers by eliminating 8% of fluid milk consumption because children would not drink much if any of the unflavored fat-free and 1% milk. “We came together as an industry. Thirty-seven milk processors have made the commitment that we’d be at a maximum of ten grams of added sugar by the 25-26 school year. That’s 30 million children on school lunch and school breakfast.”

Dykes says that covers 95% of the school milk programs in the nation, and the summer meal program covers another 3.2 million children.

Dykes says in the past, fluid milk processors added up to 14 grams of sugar in eight ounces of flavored milk.  He says 31 billion grams of sugar have been removed from flavored milk for schools since 2006.

Dykes says IDFA was one of four organizations recognized this week for nutrition initiatives at the White House.

AUDIO: Michael Dykes discusses the Healthy School Milk Commitment with Brownfield’s Larry Lee

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