LA School District Bans Flavored Milk

Helen Whalen Cohen

6/15/2011 10:12:00 AM - Helen Whalen Cohen

Yesterday, the Los Angeles Unified voted to ban flavored milk. It is the second largest school district in the country, and the largest one to do so thus far.

Los Angeles Unified on Tuesday became the nation's largest school district to stop serving flavored milk in a move to combat child obesity.

The school board voted to eliminate chocolate and strawberry milk from schools as of July 1.

LAUSD joins a growing number of school districts nationwide, including District of Columbia, Boulder Valley, Colo., and Berkeley, Calif., that serve only plain milk because of the added sugar contained in flavored versions.

The proposal by Superintendent John Deasy came after popular British TV chef Jamie Oliver criticized the district in recent months for serving flavored milks, saying they contain the sugar equivalent of a candy bar.

In one TV stunt, he filled a school bus with sand to represent the amount of added sugar LAUSD students consume in a year through flavored milk.

Why is a TV chef telling a school district what to do? We've been through this before. Eliminating flavored milk may cause some kids to start drinking regular milk, but in all likelihood most will just resort to soda. As the article notes, the fruit juice provided in school lunches has more sugar than the milk. Where's the movement to ban that? And finally, flavored milk entices children to actually drink milk (therefore getting all the nutrients), though this wouldn't be the first instance of a government entity banning something that is healthy.