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Chocolate milk now healthy for students

• High fructose corn syrup dropped from creamery's recipe

Posted: May 18, 2008 1:27 a.m.
Updated: July 19, 2008 5:01 a.m.
 
If you are the parent of a student who selects chocolate over plain white milk every day during lunch, don't worry: The chocolate milk in local schools just got healthier.

El Monte-based Driftwood Dairy, which supplies milk to more than 1 million Southern California school children every day - including Santa Clarita students - has now switched from high fructose corn syrup to natural evaporated cane juice in all its flavored milks.

"We have used Driftwood for years, and we are thrilled with the changes they are making," said Jane Crawford, director of food services for the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Agency. "Because kids love chocolate milk, I'm really excited that it will now be better for them."

For years, high fructose corn syrup has been the sweetener of choice for popular drinks like soda and even healthier alternatives like juices and dairy drinks. However, many health care experts cite consumption of foods and drinks containing this substance as one of the major causes of childhood obesity in the United States.

"This change is integral to fighting childhood obesity in Southern California schools, thus keeping our kids totally healthy," said Laura Trujillo, registered dietitian and school sales manager for Driftwood Dairy.

By substituting natural evaporated cane juice, a product from the cane fields of Hawaii, Driftwood Dairy has lowered the caloric and sugar content of its chocolate milk by 20 calories and 5 grams of sugar.

In addition to chocolate flavored milk, Driftwood Dairy also sells strawberry, root beer and orange creme flavored milks. At this time, the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Agency only offers nonfat white, 1 percent white or chocolate.

"We've taste-tested the orange and the kids really like it, and the root beer flavored milk tastes like a root beer float," Crawford said. "So we would probably just use that for special occasions like a Fifties day. It could serve as both a milk and a dessert for that day."

Crawford said that while the other flavored milks are fun, the food agency tries not to give the students too many of the sweetened milks.

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