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L.A. schools halt sale of chocolate, strawberry-flavored milk on campuses

Chocolatemilk The L.A. Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday voted to stop providing chocolate or strawberry-flavored milk in school cafeterias as of July 1.

The move makes L.A. the largest school system in the nation to pull flavored milks out of schools and is part of a larger push to make the food served at school more nutritious. L.A. Unified earlier banned sodas sales at schools.

The district's new superintendent, John Deasy, said plain milk is a healthier option. Parents and some activists have long wanted the district to stop serving flavored milk, which has more sugar than plain milk.

About 60% of the cartons of milk that kids consume each day are flavored, and some people are worried that without it kids won't eat school lunch at all. The district gets federal funding through reimbursements for meals served.

Eliminating flavored milk "is a big deal," said Megan Bomba, a project coordinator at Occidental College's Urban and Environmental Policy Institute and a school food reform advocate.

"If they succeed, no other district will have an excuse," she said Tuesday morning.

The district's dairy contract expires June 30, and the board is scheduled to consider a new contract at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Chef-activist Jamie Oliver said in a statement Tuesday morning that he "couldn't be happier" to see the likely elimination of flavored milk from L.A. Unified campuses. At an appearance with Oliver on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show, Deasy first announced he would get rid of the flavored milk, and Oliver has worked toward that goal both on his "Food Revolution" reality ABC series and behind the scenes.

"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 said.

-- Mary MacVean


L.A. would be biggest city to ban flavored milk in schools

Jamie Oliver praises plan to remove chocolate milk from schools

Photo: Ivan Ballesteros, 12, a student at Marina del Rey Middle School, drinks chocolate milk during lunch May 20. The disctrict has voted to drop flavored milk from school menus. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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