Flavored Milk Still Allowed

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new school meal standards include more flexibility in menu planning between Fall 2025 and Fall 2027.

Included in the updates was the continuation of allowing schools to offer flavored and unflavored milk to students. The new guidelines recognize milk’s role in providing essential nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.

The update did include a new limit on the amount of added sugar allowed in the milk. School milk processors have committed to meeting the limit on added sugar, according to Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

“The USDA’s recognition of the importance of allowing milk, including flavored milk, in the school meals program is a win for all dairy farmers,” says Edge CEO Tim Trotter. “We have fought hard through our legislative efforts to help ensure students have access to the milk they are wanting while at school.”

The original proposed rule for the school meal program update allowed for only unflavored, fat-free, and low-fat milk for grades K-8. It allowed flavored and unflavored, fat-free and low-fat milk for grades 9-12.

The approval to allow flavored and unflavored, fat-free, and low-fat milk for all grades was the result of collective efforts throughout the dairy community.

“While we are encouraged by this action, there is still more to do to ensure we are providing full access to all types of nutrient-dense dairy products, including whole milk,” Trotter says.

The new updates will go into effect at the beginning of the 2025-26 school year. Learn more: https://www.fns.usda.gov/cn/school-nutrition-standards-updates