Who’s up for Banning Flavored Milk in Schools?

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Ann Cooper & Jamie Oliver vs. the Chocolate & Strawberry Milk Industry

Click image below for video with Ann Cooper:

ann cooper milk schools

Jamie Oliver:

Excerpt via The Atlantic, re: flavored milke and Jamie Oliver’s new hit reality show about bringing real food to schools in Huntington, Virginia:

…ask why responsible adults would place children directly in harm’s way in the cafeteria when great care is habitually taken elsewhere on school grounds to avoid danger. Do coaches give kids the choice between playing in the gymnasium and playing in traffic? Do principals put beer kegs next to the water fountains in the school hallways? Do teachers allow teens in English class to read porn magazines in lieu of the classics?

…Oliver is outraged that the school district’s food service director, Rhonda McCoy, has chosen to continue serving flavored milk. Oliver fervently argues that flavored milk “has more sugar in it than soda.” Yet McCoy, supported by the school principal and haplessly citing “The Office of Child Nutrition,” claims that because she is required to serve “a variety of milks,” she needs special dispensation to stop serving flavored milk.

…McCoy appears to lack a full understanding of the rules she is required to follow in operating her food service department. To be sure, the regulations governing school meals are extremely convoluted and often incomprehensible. Nevertheless, it is clear that “a variety of milks” can include any two of skim, 1-percent, 2-percent, and whole, unflavored milk, and that no special permission is required to stop serving flavored milk.

Generally speaking, there are 22 to 24 grams of sugar in a typical eight-ounce serving of flavored milk—10 to 12 more grams of added sugars than in a comparable serving of unflavored milk (of equal fat content). There are four grams of sugar per teaspoon, and approximately 115 teaspoons of sugar per pound. Thus, a child who drinks flavored milk every day for lunch consumes 1800 to 2160 more grams of sugar per 180-day school year than a child who drinks an equal amount of unflavored milk. That’s 3.9 to 4.7 pounds of added sugars. And, of course, children who drink flavored milk for both breakfast and lunch consume twice that amount.

During a presentation about school food reform that I once gave to an audience of about 200 people, several parents were alarmed that their children’s “right to chicken nuggets and chocolate milk” could be taken away. My explanation—that the food service department was focused on the long-term best interests of their children—was falling flat, when a 30-something father stood up and shouted, “I want healthy food in the schools and I want my kid to have two choices: take it or leave it.” Or, as Oliver puts it, “We should give children what they should get. They’ll get used to it.”

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


23 Responses to “Who’s up for Banning Flavored Milk in Schools?”

  1. I'm with Laurie, how about just banning milk altogether? Cow's milk is for calves, not humans!

  2. Laurie C Ney
    I'm up for banning milk entirely. Our bodies don't need milk after the age of 2 as long as we eat dark green veges and get some sunshine.

    Susan WinterChill
    I agree laurie, my only complaints about the Food Revolution was that no one was offereing another healty choice to drink besides the dairy milki. I personally would rather drink a good glass of water.

    Judy Worth Friedsam
    milk is a wonderful source of calcium and vitamin D for those who don't eat properly or take enough of those supplements via other means. Milk IS needed until adulthood; waaaaay beyond the age of 2yrs. There is so much more re: getting enough calcium and vitamin D than some sunshine (to which everyone should be wearing 30spf or risk skin cancer) … See Moreand eating dark grn veggies….. http://www.whymilk.com/
    Milk contains 9 essential nutrients that your family needs…..
    consult with a physician folks before giving up milk.

    Shelly Toland
    i say ban it all together also 🙂

    Stefan Janot
    i like lauries comment!

    Doug Kalish
    Judy, when there are so many other sources of calcium and vitamin D (spinach and a few minutes of sunlight for example), and we stop drinking human breast milk around 2 years old, why do you think people should drink a cow's mammary secretions?

    Carol Borden
    Mammary secretions! Yum! Nice middle class people who have good diets shouldn't turn their noses up at kids from poor or ignorant families who get needed nutrition from food given to them at school. Isn't it the sugar that's the problem here?

    Gary Smith
    Judy – Did you know that they have to add Vitamin D to milk? Do you know where they get the Vitamin D? They get it from lanolin, which is technically the sweat from a sheep. Did you know that milk leaches calcium from your bones? Did you know that there is more calcium in seeds and greens than milk? Your echoing the propaganda of the dairy industry… See More that spends $170 million a year trying to scare you into thinking that your bones will break if you don't drink the fluid milk of another species. Did you know that the highest rates of osteoparosis are in countries with the highest intake of dairy products?

    Kate Sparkman Sharadin
    Judy, you are misinformed. What is the basis of your claims…curious. What about the millions of folks who don't eat properly that do drink milk. The cattlemen's association, beef lobby also suggest similar needs and benefits. ???

    "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. http://www.thechinastudy.com/

  3. Judy Worth Friedsam
    yes there is sugar in milk..NOT in cream but in milk…when we are young, soy is a good alternative but not when post menopausal. Anyway to each his her own….do your own research. speak to those who study health on a holistic, ayurvedic, and other medical beliefs and practices. Indeed Carol, milk is a great source of nourishment for all of us on … See Moreone level or another and for those who are less fortunate, a glass of milk and piece of bread may be all the nutirician they get ! The milk that comes from Cows that are grass fed and cared for, in other words organic milk is absolutely healthy for all of us…..granted more for children and less for adults. If you poo poo or turn your nose up to milk then that's on you ! That is your choice. Live your own or best life !

    Kate Sparkman Sharadin
    Oh, and a bit from teh American Journal of Clinical Nutriion: Abstract only. You can get the full piece. http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/5/163

    Judy Worth Friedsam
    again…it's a choice like everything else in life right ?

    Jennifer Charnofsky
    As a kindergarten teacher at a school that served chocolate milk about 3 times a week, it was evident which days the children had just drunk that milk. They were hyper, practically swinging from the ceiling, and much calmer on the days when they drank regular milk.

    Soy milk or purified water should be an available choice.

    Rachael Lehman
    Yep! Laurie is right…..cow's milk is for baby calves! not human beings….breast feed your babies and then introduce whole foods to their diets. Mosty humans are emotionally/psychologically addicted to milk and dairy products. C'mon who doesn't like cheese laden pizza or ice cream? The fact is, our bodies do not need dairy to function at all!

    Daniela Kunz
    @Gary Smith – that might all be true for pasteurized and sugared milk. Not so for real milk – raw that is. But of course that cannot be served at schools, so yes, I am against it that pasteurized milk be served to kids in schools – flavored, sugared or in whatever form it comes, Ban it along with the other junk they serve to the kids.

    Doug Kalish
    Judy, do the cows living on concentrated animal feed operation sites (where a huge majority of the US' milk supply comes from) get a choice of how to live their "own best life"?

    you know that cows have to be pregnant in order to give milk, right? because I'm fairly sure most of them would request to not be artificially impregnated, have their baby calves taken away, and stand around giving milk like a slave.

    Carol Borden
    Judy, the original article was about ADDING sugar to flavor strawberry and chocolate milk. The statement was the flavored milk had more sugar ADDED to it than soda. Of course, the question of feeding factory farmed cow's milk to children is a whole issue in itself, and that's the issue that is being addressed in these posts.

    I feel extremely bad … See Morethat our culture is held in the grip of greedy people who have developed huge corporations that are squeezing the health from our population who don't have the education or the means to overcome this. Yikes! The world is rapidly going to hell in a handbasket, one cup of white sugar and one bucketload of antibiotics at a time. Be afraid. Be very very afraid. And go out and CHANGE IT.

    Carol Borden
    As Wes Scoop Nisker said every night when he gave the KPFA news: "If you don't like the news, go out and make your own."

    Susan WinterChill
    I agree with you Carol, our kids are being fed awful food endoresed by USDA and probably bought off by lobbist for the food industry.

  4. To be fair, food reformers are having difficulty even banning sugared flavored milk, let alone all milk. One step at a time, folks, let's get sugared flavored milk bannnned!

    • Greg says:

      I thought you were being tongue-in-cheek about banning. You aren't serious are you?

      You do realize the minute we take over the power to ban things that there will be no further need for Elephant and no further need for Jamie, don't you? When we have the power of the ban there will be no need for education. No need to provide a public service voice enlightening people. Elephant will tank. We will live in a utopia where the enlightened will dictate our every thought, our every action. There will be no need for reason, communication, or dialogue. Just the big black heel of the boot that brings paradise.

      • There may not be a need for elephant and other "Mindful" media, but there might still be a want! We could have more fun. I'd be plenty happy if children got to eat fun, good, real food and didn't have shortened lifespans due to obesity and diabetes, Greg. This isn't about limiting choices. You don't say that red green traffic lights are limiting your choices.

        This is about caring about our children.

  5. Rayna says:

    I’m all for banning milk. Period. Unless it’s cow milk for cows and human milk for humans. 🙂

  6. And why does the dairy industry get such unfettered access to American youth anyways? Everything from the "Got Milk?" posters on school walls to the near force feeding of milk in elementariy schools would cause outrage were it any other industry.

    Cow's milk is for calves.

  7. Kris N Burson and 11 others like this.

    Sandra Nicht
    give them fresh, real, full fat milk straight from the cow!

    Shelley C
    Yes! Give them raw milk!

    Susan Vitale
    imagine raw………….

    Doug Kalish
    rice milk for everyone!

    Mary Yamada
    I drank goat milk as a child, and loved it!

    Mary F
    whats wrong with water?

    Courtney M
    I believe Strawberry milk is a right of passage! Seriously, I know things have got to be toned WAY down… still, a little sad!

    Nothing wrong with milk unless you're allergic to it. I don't see anything wrong with adding a little flavor! …could be fresh strawberries or organic chocolate/carob!!

    Christine, amen, but they're not mixing fresh strawberries or organic chocolate carob in schools!?

    In schools it's sugar and coloring. Flavored milk has nearly as much sugar as a coke. Over the course of a year, it contributes a great deal to nationwide problems with obesity and diabetes with our children.
    a few seconds ago ·

  8. Aunty L. says:

    My students (taught 5th grade for 6 years) had not only flavored milk, but cheetos, pork rinks and ice cream, all from the vending machines in the cafeteria. Really, it was bad. But, what was worse was what they had at home before they came into school. Red Bull, Capt'n Crunch, coffee with milk and sugar, Coke, Mountain Dew, pastries, etc.. I would beg their parents to give them lean protein and complex carbs in the morning, but it fell on deaf ears.

  9. Greg says:

    Hmm. Working on my ban list. When in Rome…

  10. Lysa
    EVERYTHING on moderation! This stuff is getting out of control.

    Jennifer Kass
    Five options: raw milk, rice milk, water or fresh fruit or vegetable juice. It's not that hard and we're proving it.

    Yes, I know they probably would not be doing the 'organic' way of eating in schools. Sugar IS a major (eating it) factor in obesity. I know first hand. I cut out sugar from just my coffee and lost weight. Also didn't feel as tired. I think all milk is good; including goat. It's about choices. .

    what food nazis. can you leave kids with a little bit of childhood — like drinking chocolate milk once in a while. geez…

    Chris Courtney
    The food nazis are the ones who have the unfettered access to America's youth and are able to hang their "Got Milk" banners in the halls of US schools and buy school boards with their cash.

    Bethany Gorski
    offering high fructose corn syrup laden "milk" as an option to encourage milk drinking is like soaking apples in wine so you'll eat more fruit. A little sangria at a party is great but every day for lunch at work? That would not be good. I should just eat the fruit, yes?

    Iris, all for children having a great time. Being obese however, diabetes…they're no fun. Chocolate milk made with chocolate, strawberry milk with real strawberries? Cool. But this stuff has just about as much sugar as Coke. On a daily or twice-daily basis, that's no fun at all. Good point, though, let's keep the fun!
    a few seconds ago ·

  11. Melony Sebastian
    Anyone aware that humans are the only mammals who continue to drink milk after infancy? We're also the only mammals who drink milk from another mammal… hmm, maybe something is off.http://www.peta.org/mc/factsheet_display.asp?ID=9

    Denise S
    I've heard that for a long time but it fails to be meaningful to me since humans are the only ones who do a lot of things on this earth…..good and bad. I love PETA but they get some things wrong.

    Lisa Marie Anthony
    Be open to learning, you can only benefit from it.:) Be well

    Chris Courtney
    We're also the only species which smokes. Denise, something to consider. Just because we are capable of doing some things doesn't mean our bodies are capable of processing them without causing damage to ourselves.

    Michael Taney
    Things that are presently sold and advertised in many K-8 schools and shouldn't be, period: soda pop, candy, junk food, and (probably) flavored milk, which I'm sure must be full of preservatives and other crap.

    But, of course, all this stuff will continue to be advertised and sold in public schools because the corporations that produce them — and that own the people we elect — have way more power than your local school board.

    Iris Lincoln
    Interestingly enough I watched Julie & Julia last night — the story of one woman's love affair with Julia Child and her seminal cookbook. And guess what Julia Child and her husband both lived to the ripe old age of 92 and 94 respectively. And also guess what? They drank and smoked and ate many things made of sugar and butter through their happy marriage. So let's just relax!

    BTW, maybe the fact children are a sedentary bunch should enter the discussion?

  12. notgivingmyname says:

    This ridiculous! I never liked "plain milk"… even as a 31 year old woman I NEVER drink it… so "if they don't like it they'll get used to it" OUTRAGEOUS! When I was young I told the ladies at the day care place, I don't drink white milk, they forced me to have it and I gagged and threw up on them. Really they should just have water at school.. but then everyone would find the complaint of "ohh but the packaging". and no I don't have kids… I just really hate plain milk, it tastes disgusting! I also don't like the garbage "fruit punch" they tried to make me drink as a child. Water would have been better.

  13. Brenda T says:

    I've been looking for people who share this view! You need more people to support this. I don't think many people know that Borden adds sugar to thier "organic" milk either. Tell them to STOP hyperactivating our kids right before math class with there junk food and calling it "nutrition"

  14. […] Good thing they edited this video, or it’d be a long half hour watching this sugar drown that bus. Still want flavored milk in our schools? […]

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