Florida considers pulling soda, flavored milk from schools

MANATEE — In an effort to curb childhood obesity, state education leaders are considering banning flavored milk and non-juice drinks in public schools — a move drawing mixed reaction from Manatee County School district leaders and parents.

The Florida Board of Education is considering amending its School Food Service Program to nix carbonated beverages, including sodas and chocolate and strawberry milks. The proposed change comes after the state Department of Education conducted a study and found that one-third of children are overweight in the U.S. and that obesity has more than tripled during the past 30 years.

Manatee school district nutrition leader Sandra Ford opposes the possible ban on flavored milk.

“It will be devastating to kids if they make us take away chocolate milk,” said Ford, district director of food and nutrition services. “It will probably make non-milk drinkers.”

Ford said the district already has plans to slash strawberry milk from its menu during the 2010-11 school year.

“We don’t have a lot of strawberry drinkers and it has a little higher sugar content,” she said.

But chocolate and white milk, she said, are close in sugar content.

“And of the 23 grams of sugar in one pint of chocolate milk, 12 of it is natural sugar,” Ford said.

Read the complete story at