Colorado schools face cartons of controversy over milk |

Colorado schools face cartons of controversy over milk

Karen Auge
The Denver Post

Cole O’Connor doesn’t always choose the hot lunch at Denver’s Lincoln Elementary School. But when he does, the second-grader pairs it with a nice strawberry-flavored milk.

Third-grader Riley Finch is a chocolate-beverage kind of guy. White milk, in Riley’s estimation, “gets kind of old.”

So, what if those chilled bins in the lunch line contained only white milk – no flavor options?

Riley wouldn’t go for that. Cole enjoys white milk on cereal, “but by itself, I think, not that often.”

There you have it: a concise summation of a dilemma that has grown-ups around the country locked in a debate stirred up this month by the dairy industry’s new “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk” campaign.

Give kids chocolate milk, and you’re handing a generation struggling with obesity another fistful of sugar, critics say.

Sure, but you’re also giving them vitamin D, calcium and potassium in a form they like, goes the other side of the argument.

Take away flavored milks, and you drive kids off the vitamin-fortified path and into the arms of demon soda.

In a growing number of schools across the country, the former argument is winning.

Alarmed by soaring childhood obesity rates and nudged by concern over fattening, processed cafeteria food, schools, including some in Colorado, have closed the freezer door on flavored milks.

Ann Cooper, a high-profile chef now on a mission to lean up school food, has banned the brown beverage from Boulder public schools.

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