Chocolate milk may have become the latest casualty of the “nanny state” in Connecticut, where, not considering the language carefully enough, legislators have passed a bill that will ban chocolate milk and some juices from public schools. The bill would limit beverages in public schools to low-fat unflavored milk, drinks without artificial sweeteners or added sodium and drinks with no more than four grams of sugar per ounce.
Health and the responsibility of implementing standards to protect the public is a multifaceted issue. Broad legislation can impact things not intended, and many attempts to protect consumers can end up being an overstep by an over bias nanny state. The intent of the bill was simply to eliminate salty drinks with 800 milligrams or more per serving, but according to the product label, chocolate milk contains high fructose corn syrup and 200 milligrams of sodium.
Even though chocolate milk is not considered a salty drink, the bill would ban it in all public schools in Connecticut. Governor Dannel P. Malloy however, has made it clear that he would not approve a bill that bans chocolate milk. Milk is the number one source for calcium, vitamin D and potassium according to the Dietary Guidelines for America. A majority of the milk purchased in schools is chocolate, and according to research, without it milk consumption dwindles by thirty-five percent.
With or without chocolate, milk contains nine essential nutrients which are important for good health. The attempts to govern and control what gets drunk in school has removed one of the tools that helps children get the nutrition they need. Unchecked nanny state initiatives are in danger of making chocolate milk the latest casualty of the ongoing struggle for control.
In New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has attempted to outlaw the sale of sugary drinks over sixteen ounces. Despite the potential harm consuming large quantities of sugar can do to a person, in this instance taking away an American’s ability to do as they please might be against the law. His proposed bill is up for review in the state’s highest court.
Across the nation lawmakers and politicians continue to try to pass bills that limit, govern, control and relegate decision-making to the state. The freedom to be all one can be (or not be) is sliding into a bureaucratic pile of regulations that go mostly unchallenged. There are many changes that go under the radar such as the proposed tax on carbon pollution. This proposal, if passed, would essentially make people pay for their cars emission.
According to the New York Times, on two separate occasions democrats have tried to pushed stringent bills that would force greenhouse gas polluters, such as coal-fired power plants and oil refiners, to pay to pollute. The trickle effect of those costs would undoubtedly land on the consumers, thus through a transfer of funds, the tax paying public would be paying those costs.
The ongoing struggle for freedom in the ever-increasing nanny state has threatened to claim chocolate milk as the latest casualty in the state of Connecticut. While this may seem humorous, the implications across the board in terms of health, and even more so in terms of freedom are ever-present. Broad and loose language used to try to protect the populace many times takes away liberties without intention. Americans need to keep an eye out for laws that encompass too much outside the realm of what they are intended to protect people from, or chocolate milk will not be the only casualty.
Opinion by John Benjamin Wilson