USDA Includes Flavored Milk In Program Updates

New school meal standards announced by the USDA include major steps to promote the health of America’s children through school meals. The new standards will be gradually updated to include less sugar and also have more flexibility in menu planning between Fall 2025 and Fall 2027. This is according to the recent USDA announcement.

Included in the updates was the continuation of allowing schools to offer flavored and unflavored milk to students. The new guidelines recognize the important role milk plays in providing the essential nutrients students need. These include calcium, vitamin D and also potassium. The update also included a new limit on the amount of added sugar allowed in the milk.

“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,” said Tim Trotter, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative CEO. “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-. It allowed flavored and unflavored, fat-free and low-fat milk for only grades 9-12.

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

The new updates are scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of the 2025-26 school year. More information can be found here.