USDA Permits the Sale of Carbonated Milk in Schools

USDA Permits the Sale of Carbonated Milk Drinks in Schools

From The Center for Informed Food Choices (CIFC)
Posted 09/25/2002

In light of the skyrocketing rates of obesity and other diet-related health problems afflicting kids in the US, school districts around the nation have begun to express some qualms about the wisdom of making high-calorie, nutrient-barren soda freely available to schoolchildren. In California, for example, both Oakland and Los Angeles have recently taken steps to limit kids' access to fizzy sugar water during school hours.In yet another example of its industry biases, the US Department of Agriculture has issued a decision that threatens to undermine such efforts to safeguard the health of America's kids.

In June, the agency approved the sale of e-Moo, a dairy-based carbonated beverage, in school cafeterias. The first flavored, sweetened, carbonated products to be allowed in school lunchrooms since 1991, e-Moo was developed with the assistance of Cornell University, Dairy Management Inc., and Mac Farms. A Mac Farms spokesperson had this to say about the USDA's exemption: "Now we can get e-Moo directly in front of the kids, which means providing them with a healthy beverage they actually think is cool. This is an important step towards expanding the acceptance of dairy beverages by youngsters who have tended in recent years to drink less nutritious beverages more often."We had a good chuckle over the idea that the nutritional well-being of America's youth was the impetus for the e-Moo product line, to say nothing of the USDA's decision to permit its sale in school cafeterias. e-Moo is essentially soda with some cholesterol- elevating, artery-clogging dairy protein added for good - or should we say, bad - measure. In giving the nod to e-Moo, the USDA is doing little more than fulfilling is mandate to act as a booster for the dairy industry while appearing to care deeply about the nutritional needs of children. Not to be outdone by a smaller rival, Coca-Cola plans to testmarket two new dairy-based fizz drinks to millions of adolescents returning to school this fall.

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