Say goodbye to chocolate and strawberry milk at Los Angeles public schools beginning July 1. The LAUSD Board of Education voted 5-2 to remove flavored milk with added sugar. A new dairy contract will exclude the chocolate and strawberry milk as part of the district's continuing efforts to provide healthier meals and combat childhood obesity.
Superintendent John Deasy had previously recommended the elimination of flavored milk from the district's list of beverage options. Deasy made the announcement weeks ago with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Oliver — who has waged an on-again, off-again battle with Los Angeles Unified over permission to film his reality TV show Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution inside LAUSD schools — brought media attention to the flavored milk issue. He was not, however, the first to advocate for its removal. Parents and local nutrition activists have long opposed sweetened, flavored milk in schools.
This past February, parents gathered outside LAUSD headquarters at an anti-chocolate milk protest organized by FoodForLunch activists Emily Ventura and Jennie Cook. Oliver stopped by for a few minutes and shot some footage.
Not to be outdone, he later followed up with his own “Milk Day of Action” a week before the school board vote. Students wrote letters to school administrators, staged assemblies and donned white milk moustaches.
Oliver's celebrity, combined with local preexisting grassroots efforts seem to have done the trick where sugar-added milk is concerned. Every so often, when camera-hungry celebs, childhood health issues and education policy collide, it's a win-win-win.