The Los Angeles Unified School District school board has voted to eliminate flavored milk from its dining operations effective July 1. It becomes the largest school district in the country to effect such a ban, though several other major districts such as the District of Columbia and Berkeley (CA) have taken the same action. Fairfax County (VA) Schools implemented such a ban at the beginning of the most recent school year but rescinded it in the spring after securing a contract with a supplier whose products had a different sugar content.
Some opponents of the action criticized the vote as a "caving in" to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who had recently chided LAUSD for serving flavored milk while attempting to get permission to film his Food Revolution TV show at district sites. New LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy had indicated that he favored a ban while appearing with Oliver on a television talk show earlier this spring.
Other critics of the move are concerned that the ban would do more harm than good by reducing the amount of milk consumed by LA youngsters. That contention is bolstered by the findings of a study presented last summer at the School Nutrition Association (SNA) Annual National Conference. The study, conducted by Prime Consulting Group and funded by the Milk Processor Education Program, which in turn is funded by the nation's milk processors, found that when flavored milk was not available in school cafeterias, milk consumption dropped an average of 35 percent, and stayed down in schools that were in their second year of eliminating or restricting flavored milks.