Los Angeles Schools Lift Sugary Milk Ban

Chocolate milk is back on school lunch menus to encourage students to drink more dairy.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) lifted a ban imposed in 2011 on sugary chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk in school cafeterias. A 2015 food waste study revealed that LAUSD schools were disposing of 600 tons of organic waste each day. “Right now we are ... taking garbage bags filled with milk to landfills, and that just doesn’t make any sense to me,” LAUSD board member Monica Ratcliff told the Los Angeles Times. LAUSD is in the midst of a five-year, $100 million contract with milk producers to serve their dairy products to students, despite the apparent signs that students are not consuming milk. A proponent of the 2011 ban and founder of anti-sugar advocacy group SugarWatch Brent Walmsley expressed concerns over the lift of the ban. “We wouldn’t serve caramel apples to increase apple consumption,” Walmsley said. “Milk is getting this odd pass here.” In the first eight months of this year, dairy farmers dumped 43 million gallons of unsold milk into manure lagoons, fields, and animal feed, the largest overproduction of milk recorded in the last 16 years. Conversely, plant-based milk is continuing to gain consumer popularity with the alternative dairy market projected to grow to $35 billion by 2024.

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