Why Do Schools Serve Milk?

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Sydney Monroe

The question of whether milk is beneficial to your health or not has been an ongoing debate for many years. Yet despite the many studies concluding that milk is bad for your health, schools continue to serve it at lunch—Why? A program called “The Dairy Checkoff” may be to blame. Created in 1983, the USDA managed program uses funds from dairy producers to campaign and promote the consumption of dairy products. They convince government officials that milk is an important aspect of children’s diets. This can be seen with the “Got Milk” ads popularized in the 1990s. Celebrity endorsements are often used to spark the interest of young students. Some of these posters can be seen around our own cafeteria.

(you can find this poster in your cafeteria)
“Got Milk?” Ad endorsed by Taylor Swift

It’s estimated that schools make up about 7-8% of milk sales, a fairly substantial portion of the dairy market. Senior Executive and Vice President of Dairy Management, Barbara O’Brien says, “those sales are crucial to lifelong dairy consumption and keeping people positively inclined to our products and to our industry.” Though the mass amounts of milk aren’t the only issue.
70% of milk served in schools is flavored. The LUASD calculated that the average consumption of milk is increased by 4,332 gallons per week when chocolate milk is added to the menu. Milk alone has tons of cholesterol and sugars. With the added chocolate and strawberry flavoring, milk consumption in schools becomes even more of an issue in terms of student’s health. Many studies have proven that milk is not necessary for our diets and can actually be harmful. Milk and many other dairy products are the main sources for saturated fats which can cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been linked to breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
So with all of these health problems that come along with drinking milk, the question remains; Why do schools still serve it at lunch?