Mayor Eric Adams is backing away from his proposed ban on chocolate milk, at least for now – and instead is asking Congress to pass legislation allowing vegetarian alternatives in select New York schools, according to a letter obtained by The Post.
Adams — who follows a mostly vegan diet and has already planned plant-based menus in the city’s public schools — assured a nine-member, bipartisan panel of New York’s congressional delegation that he would not push for a ban on chocolate milk, at least not for now.
But he said he intends to pursue a pilot program as well as federal laws mandating plant-based meals.
“My administration is committed to equipping our students and their parents with the information and resources they need to make healthy choices for themselves and for our city,” the city’s mayor wrote in a letter Thursday, April 14. April, addressed to the New York delegation, according to The Post.
“We are preparing to work with stakeholders in our school communities to provide feedback on all aspects of our school feeding program. In the meantime, we are not making any commitments on chocolate milk.”
The city’s chief executive also said he will give school principals the power to decide whether to eliminate flavored milk in their own schools.
“At the discretion of the principal, individual schools may remove flavored milk from their menu as long as they continue to offer milk at every meal in accordance with USDA requirements,” the letter reads.
But Upstate Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik blasted Adams’ letter as nothing more than a distraction from his true goal of replacing dairy with “vegan juice.”
“A temporary stand by the decision to ban chocolate milk in schools, thanks to our bipartisan efforts, is a win for New York state farmers,” Stefanik said in a statement to The Post.
She continued, “But make no mistake, any attempt by Mayor Adams to ban chocolate milk and replace it with vegan juice is a complete non-starter and will be resented by parents, families, children and New Yorkers. I will continue to lead efforts to protect real dairy in schools for the benefit of our children.”
Stefanik — the No. 3 GOP member in the House of Representatives — has already introduced federal legislation requiring all schools to offer chocolate milk in response to Adams’ proposed ban.
Adams said he supports federal legislation sponsored by Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Nydia Velazquez that would allow for a pilot healthy eating program in schools.
He wrote, “This legislation amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act by establishing a pilot grant program for school food boards to provide students with healthy and climate-friendly meals and plant-based milk options.”
“I respectfully request that you prioritize discretionary funding for a pilot program to provide healthy beverage alternatives in school lunch programs, and direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to commission a report examining the relationship between flavored milk consumption and the… student health outcomes.” he added.
Adams was responding to a letter written last month by Democratic Representatives Antonio Delgado, Grace Meng and Sean Patrick Maloney and Republican Representatives Elise Stefanik, Lee Zeldin, Claudia Tenney, Chris Jacobs, Tom Reed and John Katko and the mayor of the Big Apple asked to reconsider his proposed ban on chocolate milk in the city’s public school milk program.
Lawmakers in their letter cited studies showing that drinking chocolate milk helps children get essential nutrients and important vitamins.
“Studies have also shown that consumption of flavored milk is not associated with weight gain or even higher total daily sugar intake in children,” they wrote in their letter.
A recent poll by the International Dairy Foods Association found that 90% of voters living in the five counties that send their children to public schools favor keeping low-fat flavored milk in public school feeding programs.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/17/eric-adams-backs-off-proposed-chocolate-milk-ban-for-now/ Eric Adams backs down against proposed chocolate milk ban – for now