Flavored milk has come under attack in several school districts this year, and the sprawling district of Los Angeles is no exception. With a national spotlight coming from Jamie Oliver, the TV chef turned school-food critic, and the district's new superintendent, who recently announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live! his intention to remove flavored milk, IDFA took action to ensure that the superintendent and members of the Board of Education had the latest scientific data and research results before considering such a change.
IDFA President and CEO Connie Tipton last Friday sent a letter and background information highlighting the benefits of including flavored milk as an option in L.A. school lunch rooms. She also offered to hold a webcast briefing to provide details on compelling industry research by the Milk Processor Education Program.
"Dairy processors have invested millions of dollars to reformulate flavored milks so that now the average calorie level of flavored milk sold during the 2009-2010 school year was reduced nearly eight percent compared to the 2006-2007 school year," Tipton said. "In fact, the flavored milk currently served in your school district contains one of the lowest calorie counts in the nation."
Tipton added that using other foods to replace the nutrients that milk provides in a school lunch would add 171 more calories and significantly increase the cost of each meal.
In addition to Superintendent John Deasy, IDFA sent the letter and background information to Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte (District 1), Board President Monica Garcia (District 2),Tamar Galatzan (District 3), Steve Zimmer (District 4), Yolie Flores (District 5), Nury Martinez (District 6), and Richard Vladovic (District 7).
The dairy industry is developing a longer-term strategy to help discourage other school districts from considering the removal of flavored milk. IDFA will continue to monitor the flavored milk activities in the states and provide similar information, when appropriate. MilkPEP has shared its research with the School Nutrition Association within California and will expand its efforts to other states.
For more information, contact Peggy Armstrong, IDFA vice president of communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Donna Armstrong, MilkPEP senior communications manager, at email@example.com.