Responding to objections from IDFA, the beverage industry and registered dieticians among others, the Florida State Board of Education decided this week to drop a proposal that would have restricted the types of beverages schools could offer in a la carte lines, schools stores and vending machines. The proposal, which did not apply to breakfast and lunch programs, would have limited competitive school beverages to bottled water, flavored water, pure juice and white, low-fat milk.
John Padget, a board member and former school superintendent, proposed the guidelines because of his growing concern over high levels of obesity in children. The regulations would have put tight restrictions on milk, limiting servings to 110 calories per eight ounces, effectively banning flavored milk from competitive school outlets.
The board voted unanimously to wait for new national nutrition standards, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the First Lady's "Let's Move!" initiative, to be introduced before revising school beverage guidelines. Once national guidelines are in place, the board may decide to support them or write stricter regulations for Florida schools.
Milk Consumption Drops When Flavored Milk Is Removed, Study Shows
Foodservice managers and registered dieticians argued against the proposal, saying milk consumption among students would plummet if flavored milk was restricted. Rachel Johnson, a registered dietician and nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, sent a letter to board members referencing several studies that demonstrate the negative impact of restricting flavored milks in school. One study showed that students consumed 35 percent less milk on average when schools removed or restricted access to flavored milk.
"I urge you to reconsider the proposed regulation that milk may only contain 110 calories per eight ounces," Johnson said. "I believe that such a limit may have the unintended consequence of adversely impacting Florida school children's intake of critical shortfall nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, while having no impact on their body weight."
Read Johnson's full testimony here.
David Katz, M.D., director of the Prevention Research Center with Yale University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, was among supporters for the tougher restrictions.
IDFA sent a letter in April urging the Board to reconsider its caloric restriction on milk.
Members with questions may contact Liz Lamb, IDFA coordinator of legislative affairs, at (202) 220-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.