Earlier this month the Connecticut state legislature passed a nutrition bill intending to limit the amount of salty beverages served to students at school. Chocolate milk was not the intended target but ran afoul of the stated sodium limits—even though nutrition experts don’t consider it to be a “high-sodium” beverage. According to Fox News:

… drawing a line in the sand in the nanny-state debate, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Friday that on the matter of lactose legislation — he is intolerant. …

The legislation was intended to decrease the sodium in beverages served to young students as a way to combat the nation's growing obesity epidemic. It was amended to state that no drinks with added sodium would be allowed. Chocolate milk, incidentally, typically contains 60-90 milligrams of added salt…to neutralize the bitterness of the cocoa. …Studies indicate that overall milk consumption plummets by at least 35 percent when chocolate milk is eliminated from school menus…

Dr. Susan Berry, writing for Breitbart.com explains:

The size of beverages is also dictated by the bill. Beverages cannot exceed 8 fluid ounces for elementary schools and 12 ounces for middle and high schools.

Pat Baird, a registered dietitian nutritionist, said the legislation’s language means that chocolate milk would be eliminated from school lunches because all chocolate milk has sodium. …“This will have a significant impact on school meal participation and ultimately nutrient intake for students,” Baird said. “School chocolate milk has between 60-90 mg added sodium, which is only 2-4 percent of sodium intake in a day. Removing chocolate milk hardly moves the needle on added sodium intake; but what it does remove is critical nutrients for growth and development.”

…the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, initiated by First Lady Michelle Obama, has been widely criticized by students on social media who have complained that lunches served in school are leaving them hungry and dissatisfied.

The new school lunch standards have led to over one million children leaving the lunch line, says a Government Accountability Office report released in January. In 2012, the federal government nutrition program cost over $11 billion.

Promoting good nutrition is a worthy policy goal, but when it comes to schoolchildren, that job is best left to parents, not state politicians, First Ladies, or USDA calorie counters.