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About Nutrition Notes

Michelle Albee Matto Nutrition Notes Blog offers insight, news and analysis on nutrition, as well as food labeling. The blog is written by Michelle Albee Matto, who worked in IDFA's regulatory department for eight years, most recently as assistant director for nutrition and labeling.

Michelle now works exclusively for IDFA as a nutrition and labeling consultant. Contact her at

Michelle is a registered dietician and holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition from Russell Sage College in Troy, N.Y. She is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Society for Nutrition Education.

Nutrition Notes

Low-fat Flavored Milk Goes Back to School

Sep 13, 2017

School is back in full swing – children are getting to know their new teachers, classmates and the items available on the school meal lines. And while many of the old favorites will be there (my kids are especially happy to see chicken patty sandwiches and cheese pizza on the menu!), there may also be new milk options in some schools.

In 2012, changes were made to the school lunch and school breakfast requirements that were intended to enhance the nutritional quality of these meals. One of the changes was to continue to allow flavored milk to be offered with meals, but only if the flavored milk was fat free. But some students who preferred low-fat flavored milk stopped opting for milk altogether, and this meant they were missing out on the important nutrients in milk.

On May 1, 2017, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that additional flexibility would be allowed for schools to ensure that children are actually eating the nutritious options available through the school meal programs. USDA followed up that announcement with a memo that gave states the ability to grant exemptions from the requirement that flavored milk must be fat free. This exemption could be provided if a school district can demonstrate that there is less milk consumption by students or more school milk waste. An interim final rule is also in process to make this flexibility permanent.

This means that states are able to give permission to school districts to add low-fat flavored milk back to the milk offerings for breakfast, lunch and a la carte sales. This is great news for those kids who need the nutrition provided by milk and weren’t finding their preferred option in the lunch line.


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