Drugs, alcohol and … flavored milk? Cartons of this sugary beverage are now on the list of banned substances at Los Angeles-area schools.

chocmilkLA-featured.jpgAs of today, strawberry and chocolate milk will no longer be offered on campuses in the LA Unified School District (LAUSD).  This June, the school board — led by newly elected Superintendent John Deasy — passed a proposal to disallow the drinks after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver criticized the district for offering heavily sugared milk to students.

This change will mean that close to 700,000 children at the city’s almost 700 schools will experience a drastic reduction in the amount of added sugars available to them each day.

According to the National Dairy Council, an 8 oz. carton of flavored milk contains about 64 calories of added sugar. Consuming 2 of these sugar-loaded drinks per day adds 128 calories to a child’s diet, which leads to a total of 23,040 extra calories from sugar per school year.

On his show “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” Oliver gave a dramatic demonstration to illustrate these numbers by pumping a school bus, an “icon of trust,” full of 57 tons of sugar – the amount of added sugar consumed by LA schoolchildren in one week – from flavored milk alone.

The sugar filled the bus and spilled out the windows, forming huge piles around it.

But now all that added sugar has been subtracted from LAUSD cafeterias. 


                         Added sugar bus.jpg 

“I can’t tell you how happy that makes me,” Oliver told Deasy after the supe announced his intention to strike flavored milk from the district. “For the last 3 years, flavored milk in the American school food system has been something that offends me, with the rise in early type 2 diabetes,” Oliver said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted an uptick in cases of type 2 diabetes, commonly known as “adult-onset diabetes,” among children in recent years.

According to CDC, “Health care providers are finding more and more children with type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older.”

While reducing  sugary drinks is by no means a panacea for childhood diabetes, the CDC says that “research shows a generally positive association between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight.” And obesity has been shown to be a major contributor to type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, according to CDC.   

“That’s an incredible achievement,” says Oliver of the flavored milk ban. “I know it’s just flavored milk. But that’s one thing. What next?”

“What happens in LA generally happens in the rest of the country,” he said, expressing optimism that the trend would spread throughout the nation.

The District of Columbia, Boulder Valley, CO and Berkley, California school districts had already made the switch to plain milk when LA issued its ban.

There was only one dissenter on the LAUSD board – member Tamar Galatzan.
“I really don’t understand why we’re letting a TV chef dictate our policy,” said Galatzan according to the Huffington Post.

Health groups such as the American Heart Association say that the nutritional benefits of flavored milk outweigh the drawback of added sugar, Galatzan pointed out.

However, district parents, 6,000 of whom signed a petition to end flavored milk in school, favored the decision.

“It’s about youth health … we want students to make healthy choices,” Deasy said, according to CBS Los Angeles. “We want to provide healthy alternatives.”

  • Doc Mudd

    I’m with Galatzan.
    We’re letting some jackass foodie TV evangelist punk us into capitulating to his loopy nanny state agenda, thereby driving up the price of his stock on the boob tube.
    The British bunko artist easily exploited Americans’ growing ignorance of ordinary math and science; he simply wowed us with a clever visual stunt. Sure, the schoolbus was filled to overflowing. It was one school bus, but there are upward of 700,000 kids in the LA schools – so, the recipe calls for at least 10,000 buses for the amount of sugar he added…some “chef”, can’t even get the recipe right.
    So, we’re conned into believing we’ve saved the planet by eliminating about 14 grams of sugar from a child’s daily diet. This, by the way, successfully eliminates the need for a whopping 10 minutes of physical activity (that’s how long it takes a kid to burn of the 60 calories in 14 grams of sugar). Congratulations to us!!
    Too damned bad we aren’t teaching those kids enough math and science to figure out for themselves how we’ve just screwed them over by our simple-minded fascination with yet another vacuous TV pitchman.
    The legendary Billy Mays’ shoes are amply filled by Jamie Oliver, the foodie equivalent of the “OxyClean” huckster.

  • Brian

    I don’t see anybody seeing they’ve solved all the world’s problems here. It’s one step. One step.
    I agree, it’s too bad our kids are falling behind in math and science. Wouldn’t their health fall under science? You’d ignore that for pure numbers?
    Why are you so offended by reducing the amount of sugar these kids are consuming?
    The only embarrassing part is that it took a “tv pitchman” to do what we should have done long ago.

  • dangermaus

    If nothing else, plain milk is a much better use of taxpayers’ money.
    Again, Mudd siding with the corn syrup industry. He’s one of the most interesting phenomena of this ring of “food safety” sites. There must be some motivation that the moderators of this site have for letting him continue to post what he does, unchallenged. Maybe he’s an employee of Marler Clark? Maybe an important client? A relative of Saint Marler himself?

  • Doc Mudd

    Ah yes, loveable irascible Mudd; the balancing force – the lone voice of sanity unerringly navigating a veritable sea of foamy organic fertilizer.
    Oh, it’s a dirty job, but…
    Nope, not a client of MC (yet!), not shirt-tail relation, not a Monsanto employee, not some self-important scientifically illiterate KoolAid guzzling anti-agriculture pro-starvation fanatic (certainly not!).
    Just an average slob alternately amused and infuriated by pretentious foodie/green/organic/back-to-the-fiefdom ignorami.
    I’m amused as hell, and I won’t take it any more!!
    Happy Independence Day, y’all!!!

  • ICBM

    All it takes to participate in the Industrial Ag Disinformation World is to relentlessly rant, prevaricate and mischaracterize to obfuscate and sidetrack any real debate — by anonymously slinging mud time after time.
    Would on this Holiday that the Big Muddddy could develop an Independent Mind with a modicum of Factual Knowledge to overcome all these pretentious knee-jerk prejudices against Real Food — and finally engage in honest discussion.
    But then again, thanks to all his silly diatribes — alternative agriculture couldn’t have a better spokesperson…

  • There is a solution to this “Chocolate Milk Dilemma”. An all-natural chocolate milk mix called MojoMilk (www.mojomilk.com) contains 60% fewer calories than leading brands and also delivers 10x more healthy probiotics than yogurt. Parents, throw one of these MojoMilk stick packs into the lunch box and kids can add it to plain milk and enjoy delicious AND healthy chocolate milk. Case closed!

  • dangermaus

    You’re right, he is a bit of a living straw man.