Because we have lived to see interesting times, there’s probably no topic too obscure for the American Congress to tackle. Granted, not many of their proposals survive all the way through the process and make it to Joe Biden’s desk, but at least they’re putting in the effort. For one example, were you aware of a bill currently pending in the House known as the “Protecting School Milk Choices Act of 2022?” In a refreshing change of pace, this proposal actually carries a name that describes precisely what the bill would do if passed into law. Its author, Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York, is pushing for a federal law that would make it mandatory for all public schools to offer chocolate milk with school lunches. Why? Why not? But in reality, she’s doing it as a shot across the bow at New York City Mayor Eric Adams. (NY Post)
The Republican from Plattsburgh has introduced federal legislation that would require all schools to offer chocolate milk after hearing that the Big Apple mayor — who follows a plant-based diet — wants to ban the dairy product from city cafeterias because of what he deems unhealthy sugar content.
Stefanik’s “Protecting School Milk Choices Act of 2022 says schools “shall offer students flavored and unflavored milk” and also “may” offer students lactose-free milk.
“Mayor Adams fails to understand that delicious, flavored milk is how many of our kids access the essential nutrients in dairy for their development and that taking options away from children is not the answer,” said Stefanik, who represents dairy farmers in the North County. [sic]
As far as Mayor Adams goes, wasn’t he supposed to be out there clearing the homeless out of the subways and locking up suspects in gun crimes? What’s he doing banning chocolate milk in school?
The answer seems rather obvious. Some time back, Adams was diagnosed with some form of diabetes and switched to a “mostly vegan” diet (whatever that means). Apparently, if he has to live on plant-based foods and no sugar, he sees no reason why the children shouldn’t suffer along with him. But Stefanik isn’t alone in her objections. Last week, nine members of New York’s House delegation, including several Democrats, joined Stefanik in sending a letter to Adams demanding that the schools be allowed to continue offering flavored milk. A poll taken in New York City showed that 85% of parents agreed with them.
I’m sure that chocolate milk isn’t as healthy for children as low-fat, plain milk. But no health benefits are realized if the milk winds up in the cafeteria trash can. And that’s what many school workers claim happens on a frequent basis, while the chocolate milk flies off the shelves. There’s likely a bit of politicking involved here as well, considering that Stefanik represents a large chunk of the state’s “north country” where there are many large dairy farms. Cutting off the entire New York City school market to one of their product lines would be viewed unfavorably.
So should this really be a federal law? While my heart leans in Stefanik’s direction, my conservative instincts tell me otherwise. This is simply too much of a fine-grain decision to bring down the federal hammer on the entire country just because of Mayor Adams’ unpopular decision. The government that is closest to those being governed does the best job. To stop Adams’ chocolate milk ban, parents should be taking the issue to their local school boards. Perhaps the City Council could be involved if they feel they need a municipal ruling. But there’s no need to go much higher than that. Upstate New York schools are still serving chocolate milk in school cafeterias, so why burden them with yet another government regulation? But Stefanik’s effort still brought a smile to my face and I appreciate her instincts on this subject.