Chocolate, Strawberry Milk Off the Menu in L.A. School District

Filed under: In The News

chocolate milk

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Your kids may love taking a swig of chocolate or strawberry milk with their lunch -- and you may just be happy they're getting their dose of dairy -- but the country's second-largest school district is having none of that.

The Los Angeles Times reports the Los Angeles Unified School District is joining other cities including San Diego, Boulder, Colo., Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., in the war on flavored milk, voting 5-2 this week to ban the stuff from school menus.

And it's not just the milk (low-fat and nonfat plain milk, soy and Lactaid milks will be available) -- the district is making food changes, as well, according to the newspaper. Bye-bye, corn dogs. So long, chicken nuggets. Make way for spinach tortellini in butternut squash sauce and California sushi rolls, food services director Dennis Barrett tells the Times.

The newspaper reports that superintendent John Deasy went on the Jimmy Kimmel talk show earlier this year with chef Jamie Oliver, who stars in the reality show, "Food Revolution," to announce his plan to get rid of flavored milk.

"This is a giant step forward for the health and future of 680,000 kids in Los Angeles, and leads the way for more school districts around the country to follow," Oliver tells the Times.

But not everyone is on the chocolate milk ban bandwagon.

"I think we are demonizing milk," dissenting board member Tamar Galatzan tells the Times, expressing concern that "a TV chef who's trying to get publicity" played into the decision. She adds that juice served at breakfast in the schools is more sugar-loaded than the flavored milk.

So, what's the breakdown? According to the Times, one fat-free cup of chocolate milk served in the district contains 120 calories and 20 grams of sugar; strawberry fat-free milk has 130 calories and 26 grams of sugar; and plain nonfat milk has 90 calories and 12 grams of sugar.

The question is: Is it better to drink flavored milk than no milk at all?

Julie Buric, vice president of marketing for the Milk Processors Education Program, tells the Times an industry-funded study shows the amount of milk can drop 35 percent when flavored milk is taken off the menu.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.