Representatives for the nation’s dairy producers and processors say New York City Mayor Eric Adams made the right decision by upholding a policy to allow flavored milks to be served in the city’s public schools. 

Adams, a self-professed vegan, recently told nine members of Congress his office was “preparing for stakeholder engagement with our school communities to provide feedback on all aspects of our school food program” and in the interim, no decisions on flavored milks will come from his office. “At the discretion of the school principal, individual schools may choose to remove flavored milk from their menu as long as they continue to offer milk with every meal in accordance with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requirements,” Adams said in a letter. 

That outreach followed a March 8 letter from a bipartisan group of New York representatives in Congress. In that letter, the group said it was concerned by the “the potential elimination of flavored milk in New York City schools” and urged Adams to “continue offering children the choice of flavored milk each and every day.”

The International Dairy Foods Association on Tuesday praised the move, which will allow schools to continue serving low-fat and fat-free flavored milks. The group said the decision “ is honoring a longstanding policy in New York City government that allows individual schools to determine the types of milk they will serve.”

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“Studies have shown school meals are the healthiest meals of the day for children thanks, in part, to nutritious milk and dairy options,” IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes said in a statement. “Offering low-fat flavored milk increases school meal participation, leads to children consuming more nutrients of public health concern, and reduces food waste.”

Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, echoed Dykes, saying NMPF was "pleased that Mayor Adams isn’t moving forward with a misguided ban on flavored milk in schools and instead maintaining New York City schools’ ability to offer a wide variety of milk that’s consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

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