Thursday, June 16, 2011

Post 166b: Article of Interest: School District Halts Sale of Flavored Milk

The following article appeared in the June 14, 2011 electronic edition of the Los Angeles Times.

L.A. Schools Halt Sale of Chocolate, Strawberry-Flavored Milk on Campuses

"The L.A. Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday voted to stop providing chocolate or strawberry-flavored milk in school cafeterias as of July 1.

"The move makes L.A. the largest school system in the nation to pull flavored milks out of schools and is part of a larger push to make the food served at school more nutritious. L.A. Unified earlier banned sodas sales at schools.

"The district's new superintendent, John Deasy, said plain milk is a healthier option. Parents and some activists have long wanted the district to stop serving flavored milk, which has more sugar than plain milk."

To view the remainder of the article, click here.

What do you think of the school district's effort? Is it a responsible thing to do?


  1. Not only is it a responsible thing to do, but timely, and probably a sampler of things to come. When we read about struggles parents have in the developing world to pay for books and bribes just to get their loved ones ( of course not as DEEPLY loved as Western children) through a few years of school, it makes some of us absolutely long for the complete collapse of the great societies that have produced the selfish consumers that NEED this sugared rubbish and the corporations that value high profits before value for money.

    Cheap energy and abundant choice have gone for ever. As a human race, let's count ourself lucky!

  2. (sigh)

    As usual, I am somewhere in the middle. The school systems can do whatever they want regarding what is sold on their premises. If the parents wish to send their children to school with flavored milk, Coca-Cola, Oreos, Pixie Sticks or anything short of Captain Morgan ("any alcoholic beverage" in dumb-down speak) then I believe that they should be allowed to do so – and fight like hell to do so if they are forbidden. Thank God I never had kids; had I done so, I would probably spend quite a bit of time in jail. I would forever be trying to set an example to them regarding the defense of one’s rights and privileges.

    Was the school system responsible? No, merely pandering -- in the same way that McDonald's, granddaddy of corporate panderers, tries to appease the extremist "food police" who will never be satisfied with anything which McDonald's does.

    Is the presence of sugar in soft drinks and flavored milk a new discovery? No? Then why did the "conscientious" administrators allow such beverages to be sold in the first place if they consider it to be a health hazard? They wanted that corporate dime, of course, which is how it works in a free enterprise society. If the school systems were not so focused upon feathering their nest so opulently, this sort of schizophrenic situation would not occur. Instead, they will now simply have to squeeze a little more cash out of the already-overburdened taxpayers of that school district.

    And Bob, this comment is directed to you: when the great societies collapse, the third world parents can kiss any hope of ever getting an education for their children good-bye. Whatever educational water is carried over there is surely carried by the wealthier, developed western world. To use my metaphor: don't be "that guy" who wants to kill the goose which lays the golden eggs out of spite, and I won't be the guy who wants to kill my neighbor and feed him to the goose as an egg-production hormone. Deal?

    The Independent Cuss

  3. We doubt that anyone would dispute the fact that not all parents make responsible decisions regarding their children.

    Given this fact, should governmental entities, at least with respect to food choices which are readily available to the consuming public, simply stay out of the business of regulating or otherwise "affecting" food choices?

    Is "education" regarding healthy food choices adequate?

    Do the rights of parents trump society's interests in a healthy populace? Society's interests in keeping health care related expenses to a minimum?

  4. ‘Spector,

    The obvious answer is “Yes, of course parental discretion is to be respected. Otherwise, all margins which separate Big Bro’ from complete control over every juvenile ‘safety’ issue will be quickly erased.”

    But I still contend that it is the school district’s prerogative regarding what shall and shall not be sold on their premises. When the issue involves the marketing of a product, the school district essentially becomes a de facto retailer. Were you a food retailer, would YOU want to be told what you must market in your own cafeteria, restaurant or grocery store . . ?

    The Independent Cuss

  5. Should schools provide sex education to kids?

    If a school official or employee suspects that parents are engaging in some conduct short of "abuse" but which still negatively impacts the kids, since the activity occurs off of school property, should the schools get involved in any way?

  6. Let's review why flavored milk exists. Many kids don't like the taste of plain milk. And low fat milk is even less tasty than whole milk. Most, if not all, flavored milks are made using low fat or skimmed milk. This cuts the amount of fat in the milk while increasing the amount of sugar. A trade-off in terms of nutrition.

    As a child, I didn't like milk but would drink chocolate milk happily. Strangely, I did not grow up obese. I especially disliked school milk (except when it came with Graham Crackers... like our snacks in first grade) because it always tasted like yesterday was its expiration date. I grew to like milk, whole milk, while in the Navy. This is because it was kept incredibly cold, I think. And my only other choices were coffee and water. Coffee sucked on hot days as a refreshing drink and water lack something.
    I suspect that milk consumption per child will go down in Los Angeles County schools.

  7. Douglas, your response reminded us of the fact that during the 1950s, and perhaps into the 1960s, many parents added Karo Syrup to the food of their kids in order to make it more "appetizing," which presented an interesting balancing and weighing of factors. At least the parents were making the decision in that regard.

  8. ‘Spector,

    To me that would seem to be quite a leap: from a school system’s “decision” (via apparent intimidation) to stop selling flavored milk, to their decision to selectively force sex ed upon students based upon “suspicion”.

    Clearly, the former is an acceptable marketing decision driven by the same “market forces” as a typical McDonald’s wimp-out: a stupid and ill-thought-out move made in haste due to intensive bullying and the fear of negative publicity, no doubt impelled by a tiny minority of parents and/or obsessive food Nazis.

    The latter appears to be (in the absence of further information) a totally unsupportable proactive decision upon the school system’s part to selectively and obtrusively force a curriculum of questionable worth upon a student based upon some suspected “negative effects” of unspecified conduct, thereby inexcusably intimidating all members of the family in question, student inclusive. It is definitely out-of-bounds.


    The Independent Cuss

  9. Independent Cuss wrote: "Is the presence of sugar in soft drinks and flavored milk a new discovery? No? Then why did the "conscientious" administrators allow such beverages to be sold in the first place if they consider it to be a health hazard? "

    Is there anything wrong with changing one position depending on the financial consequences associated therewith?

    Are there problems unique to public school districts? Are there problems associated with corporations changing positions depending on the financial consequences?

    Are there problems associated with nations changing positions depending on the financial consequences associated therewith?

  10. Most conduct can arguably be viewed as being on a continuum, and the closer to opposing extremes two positions occupy, the more dramatic the leap.

    However, the despite the distance of the leap, is there a consistent, underlying principle which we can apply in terms of what is in the realm of responsibility for a school district, versus what should be left to parents?

  11. ‘Spector wrote: “ . . . is there a consistent, underlying principle which we can apply in terms of what is in the realm of responsibility for a school district, versus what should be left to parents?”

    Why, yes: school staff should return them home in the same physical condition in which they arrived, but perhaps just a bit smarter. That is where the academic environment’s responsibility begins and ends unless the child makes a direct appeal to a school official for protection from familial abuse. Even then, the complaint should be thoroughly and discreetly investigated before any action is taken; children have after all been known to lie when angry or upset.


  12. Cross-post alert!

    Stre-e-e-tch – SNAP!


  13. Independent Cuss, you got a chuckle out of us when we read your comment to the effect that schools should return kids to their homes a bit smarter.

    It reminded us of two things, the first being Gore Vidal's criticism of American public education. He once said that he never met a 5 year old who he did not find interesting; and he never met a 16 year old who he liked. He contends that public education screws kids up.

    The other thing of which we were reminded was a William F. Buckley show some years ago on home schooling. It was the first time that we had heard of the concept. We were surprised at the high test scores and college entry stats for home schooled kids. Disregarding for the time being the socialization and extra-curricular issues, perhaps keeping the kids out of school and teaching them at home is the answer.

  14. ‘Spector,

    I could not agree with you more regarding the value of home schooling.

    As we had remained pretty much on-topic in the course of this discussion, I did not wish to muddy the waters by introducing the question of whether or not compulsory publicly-funded education as practiced today is a legitimate function of government. It would seem that such a discussion is a much broader topic than can be addressed in this thread.

    The Independent Cuss

  15. I was tired when I made the above post (at least I hope that it appears above).

    So, to explain my smartass shorthand comment: it would seem that we had “jumped the curb” and detoured into the morass of Post #166 (no alpha suffix), and I simply was not comfortable commenting so far out of context. The continuity seemed to be stretched so thinly as to be broken altogether.


  16. Independent Cuss:

    While we appreciate your efforts to stay "within topic," we learned long ago that it is difficult to manage a blog like ours with that goal in mind.

    We consider our blog to be an "all-comers forum," and there are occasions when we ask our readers to submit topics for discussion. Additionally, we sometimes encourage cross-referencing of topics to explore themes in our society.

    In this instance, home schooling is definitely something which could discussed in a separate post, if not several of them.

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