Advocates for healthier school lunches scored a victory Tuesday when the L.A. Unified School District Board of Education voted to ban chocolate and strawberry flavored milk in cafeterias beginning July 1.
The decision makes the district the largest school system in the nation to withdraw flavored milks out of schools, according to The Los Angeles Times. L.A. Unified earlier banned the sale of sodas at schools.
Superintendent John Deasy said plain milk is a healthier option. The decision drew a mixed response from parents and others on different ends of the flavored milk debate. While some applauded the decision, others were less enthusiastic.
“I don't have kids, nor do I live in LA, but I think it's dumb,” said Carol Ziehm, a college professor in neighboring Orange County. “It seems to me that kids drinking milk in any form is better than them not drinking it at all.”
Ethan Sloan had some advice for the district and let his feelings be known in the comments section of the L.A. Times story.
“How about focusing on hiring better teachers, getting the class size smaller, and making sure every kid has a text book? How about making sure the schools are safe, how about reducing the drop out rate, how about...I can go on,” Sloan stated. “But, boy am I glad our future criminals can't get their chocolate milk anymore. Woo hoo! Way to go.”
Gigi Ballaster supports the decision and in the ongoing online debate stated, “Such a monumental decision for LA school systems. It hopefully encourages other school systems to do the same. Much of the credit for bringing awareness to our schools for a healthier school lunch is Jamie Oliver. I've watched many of his shows and I say thank you to him.”
In a statement released before the decision, chef and health activist Oliver said he "couldn't be happier" to see the likely elimination of flavored milk from L.A. Unified schools. Oliver appeared on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show with Deasy, who announced he would get rid of the flavored milk. Oliver has been pushing for eliminating flavored milk on his "Food Revolution" reality ABC series.
"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.