Why the big deal over chocolate milk? School cafeterias have long been hot spots for political and economic contention. The American public school is an attractive and important consumer of food, making them an important client for those in the food industry. Soft drink companies fought tooth and claw over "pouring rights" in schools, a recent development in food marketing in which a payment is given to a school in exchange for that brand's exclusive sales in that school. If Pepsi has pouring rights with P.S. 123, Coke will not be sold within its halls or at any of the school events. Extra money from a corporation, in exchange for a few vending machines, seems sensible for schools struggling with funding. Of course, soda has been linked to childhood obesity, which has tripled in the past 30 years and tooth decay (Nestlé, Food Politics, 200) time and time again. Not only is the social cost high, but pouring rights erode legislative efforts for proper funding for education. Truly, the free market has not only entered, but made itself comfortable within the "safe" sanctum of the school.
So, what does all of this have to do with chocolate milk? In 1999, the National Dairy Council spent $130 million in the "milk mustache" celebrity campaign to try to reverse the decline of milk consumption, from which 40% of its increase came from the sales of flavored milk.
|This NDC campaign explicitly pushes children to advocate for chocolate milk|
I really hope that the Fairfax school district sticks to its guns, because they have a long and grueling fight ahead. Pressure from emailing parents is only the tip of the food politic iceberg. Thankfully, activists like Chef Ann Cooper, the "Renegade Lunch Lady," are trying to change the outrageously unconscionable platforms behind public school lunch programs. Regarding the gripes of the parents in Fairfax, she retorts, "Trying to get students to consume calcium by drinking chocolate milk is like getting them to eat apples by serving them apple pie."
|What the hell is this nonsense?|
I can't say this any clearer: Industries will always choose profit over people. In this case, it's literally the little people. Any claims a corporation makes that will benefit consumers is most likely going to benefit their coffers more. Yes, dairy has calcium. But so does broccoli, watercress, kale, okra, nuts, sardines, apricots, figs and orange. Here are the bare facts: Too much milk = too much fat = weight gain. Too much milk + too much sugar = weight gain. Don't let anyone tell you any differently.