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L.A. Unified to give up chocolate milk in school cafeterias


L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy is expected to announce Tuesday night that the nation’s second-largest school system will no longer offer chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk starting next fall. The announcement, according to district and entertainment-industry sources, will be made on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" during an appearance with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

The policy change is part of a carefully negotiated happy ending between the Los Angeles Unified School District and Oliver. The chef has made his confrontations with the school system a main theme of the current season of his reality show, "Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution." Both Oliver’s and Kimmel’s shows air on ABC.

L.A. Unified had already been considering doing away with flavored milk, which advocates, including Oliver, criticize because of its added sugar. District officials, in fact, had asked suppliers if they could formulate a flavored milk with no added sugar, said a district source. If they succeed, flavored milk could reappear.

District officials have an unhappy recent history with reality shows. The district paid for an estimated $100,000 in repairs after the show "School Pride" spruced up Hollenbeck Middle School. The reality shows haven’t fared that well with L.A. Unified either — both "School Pride" and Oliver’s series suffered from  unenviable ratings.


Opinion: Foods served to student contain too much sugar

Nutrition is elementary in No Kid Hungry campaign

-- Howard Blume

Photo: Enjoying the banned treat (Los Angeles Times)

Comments () | Archives (23)

The Liberal " NANNY STATE!"

Guess what Steve? These are kids we're talking about. They generally need nanny supervision and guidance.

Every day tons and tons of federal dollars (yours) gets trashed by kids who get a plate of food and throw away 90% of it. I've seen this go on for decades. Go down to the nearest school at lunchtime and see for yourselves.

This is fantastic news! Well done, Jamie Oliver!

If schools keep putting junk food in front of children, they will keep eating it. If they get rid of junk and put healthy food in front of children, the children will start eating and ENJOYING it! It is a disgrace that our schools feed children such crap food. Our schools should be setting an example for healthy eating for children...and the food children eat affects their brains and their learning and their behavour.

As someone who received subsidized meals for the near decade and a half I attended public school (in LAUSD):

80% of the time I didn't bother cashing in on my little meal tickets because the food was disgusting. Not eating was a more appealing option. If the food was better or in more palatable portions, maybe less of it would be wasted.

If my federal dollars are being trashed, I'd prefer that at least the 10% of food consumed by those kids be quality and not crud.

You know what else LAUSD needs to do - crack down on all those kids who's 'papas' declare them as autistic or having serious learning disabilities or mentally handicapped when they are NOT. Why do they do this? Government check.

LOL @ Steve

Yeah, too bad all this healthy food doesn't mean jack when the kids are glued in front of a television watching T.V. and Playing video games, and internet surfing all day long from the time that they were born. And chocolate milk is the least of worries when physical education is going down the drain, and has never really been a factor in the first place.

This ban on chocolate milk is a good thought, but pointless.

So glad to hear this. Just today at pick-up after school I was talking with other parents about how pointlessly unhealthy sugared milks are. One of them was telling me the cafeteria workers just pass out the chocolate without even asking the kids their preference.

This is what Los Angeles unified is taking care of? What about books for children or an end to those "professional development days" that cut an hour away from teachers and students alike?

flavored milk is a start; don't let it be the end as well. there is much more work to be done - not only w/ changing the food quality, but w/ education of the kids, parents, and community... which i think is oliver's point. but a start is a start.

OMG. Really? THIS is what LA-USD is worried about?

Time to fire them, one-and-all

economy to move faster!

OMG. Really? Childhood obesity and diabetes is what LA-USD is worried about?

Time to thank them, one-and-all

There, fixed it for you.

This is preposterous. Out of ALL the unhealthy food that the LAUSD serves, flavored milk is the LEAST worry-some. At least it gets the kids to drink milk in the first place. What nutritional benefits do TATER-TOTS, PIZZA, and COOKIES have? As a former LAUSD kid, I know first-hand how absurd this is.

I hope the LAUSD has a plan to replace the nutrients that the students will stop receiving when they stop taking milk with their lunches. Most districts who adopt the no flavored milk plan eventually return to serving it because of the dramatic decline in milk consumption in their schools. The same district in WV that started the "revolution" has returned to flavored milk.

I applaud Mr. Oliver for his concern for the children but many of the changes he is asking for are already being addressed by schools districts who have to weigh the economics of implimenting these ideas as well as the practicallity.

Thank you LAUSD and thank you Jamie Oliver.

This is the first generation of kids who are supposed to NOT outlive their parents because of obesity and heart-related diseases. Feeding kids chocolate/strawberry milks (twice a day, five days a week) that have more sugar than a soda is, in the long run, helping their overall health and, as a result their education.

As studies have shown as your weight goes up, your brain shrinks. So is this a big deal? Of course it is. Healthy kids = better education.

So glad to hear! I hope Jamie Oliver's show thrives. This country needs a Food Revolution!

I was a LAUSD student, and I can say that the food was horrible.

I hope they don't replace the flavored milk with artifically sweetened milk... Chemicals, mmm. When will people learn that whole, natural food is best for you? And you can get all of your nutrients without drinking milk at all. Don't let the dairy industry know that I told you.

Its a small step but it's a step in the right direction. Until you complainers below can step up like Jamie Oliver did and actualy do something instead of typing your sourness and figure out your part of the problem too nothing will change. You should be writing some letter concerning the company that buying all the heirloom seeds and replacing them with GE crops all over the World. Stop bitchin and find a way to make a difference!

first of all food should be the least of their worries. i went to lausd and i never had a problem with weight because i kept active and wasn't glued to a tv and my mom kept a healthy meal at home at all times!! the only reason i ever drank milk was because it was chocolate milk! I think they need to worry about other, more important things rather than the food! These children need updated books and school equipment and lets not forget TEACHERS!!

As a kid I ate plenty of sugary snack foods and drank gallons of chocolate milk. I also spent a lot of time running around outdoors and getting a lot of physical exercise. Only in LA are kids and parents so ignorant about being a kid that we forgot how to do this. So we blame obesity on chocolate milk instead of inactivity. One meal a day should not make or break a kid. If kids have attentive parents then they will be fed a good diet overall. If kids do not have decent parents then no amount of chocolate milk banning is going to help. I would like to see unfit parents be scrutinized as much as school districts are. When did school also have to slide into role as parents in this colossal wasteland known as Los Angeles?

I think Jamie Oliver is brilliant ... Our children are unhealthy, overweight, and undernourished ... clearly we are doing something wrong. OF COURSE exercise and good parenting are major factors in this major situation that we face. However, we CANNOT ignore that the food, fuel, nutrients that we put into our children's bodies does not have AN (or the MOST) influence on their well-being and ability to live a productive life. Kids are impressionable and effected by their role models. Jamie Oliver is the BEST ... thank you for actually DOING something to make a difference. ONE step in the right direction for sure :)


The disconnect between school nutrition and the school environment is something I've been exploring for the last few years. While I'm still learning, I've come to realize that this disconnection is so complex that the idea of banning flavored is more than the issue of sugar content.

There are huge controversies behind banning flavored milk altogether. For many kids, it’s flavored milk or no milk. That's why many advocates like the American Heart Association, say flavored milk is better than no milk. There are essential vitamins and nutrients in milk, regardless if they are flavored or not, that kids need and often times only get from school milk. Sugar content in flavored milk do vary by brand, but an average cup (8 fl. oz) of low-fat chocolate milk has about 30 grams of sugar, while Coke has about 45 grams. Of course milk is way better for kids than Gatorade, but all the food sold on school premises are not all managed by school nutrition administrators. Which leads to the question: "Who's in charge of the Gatorade?"

The chips and Gatorade sold in vending machines and at student stores are considered “competitive food” (to school meals) and are often times managed by other school administrators and even teachers under student services, ASB or even the gym teacher. In essence they are fundraising with that money for clubs and school activities, something that is very separate from school nutrition/cafeteria operation.

Some people may argue that getting rid of flavored milk reduces childhood obesity, while others say getting rid of flavored milk will increase childhood malnutrition. The debate in banning flavored milk often comes down to advocates (1) fighting childhood obesity OR (2) fighting childhood hunger. Yet both are issues that are so interconnected that banning flavored milk won’t solve either problem.

I'm a fan of a food revolution in our schools and communities, but I'm not sure if banning flavored milk is a panacea for childhood obesity or childhood hunger.


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