Just when I think we are starting to make forward progress, something comes along that feels like we are taking 2 steps back.
As I was registering 2 of my children online for middle school, I came across this letter from the school board:
July 1, 2011
Dear Parent or Guardian:
This letter is to inform you that as of August 29, 2011, Jordan Nutrition Services will no longer
provide juice each day as a milk substitute for students with non-disabling milk allergies or
lactose intolerance, This change is in accordance with the USDA rule Fluid Milk Substitutions in
School Nutrition Programs (73 FR52903). Under this regulation, juice will no longer be offered
each day as a substitute for milk as it does not qualify nutritionally. In the future, 100% juice will
be offered on the menu twice a week and can be chosen as a side item. Water can also be
made available upon request.
I apologize for the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your support. If you should
have any questions, please feel free to contact Katie Bastian, Registered Dietitian at 801-567-
8602 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nutrition Services Director
Sad...that is the emotion running through me right now. Of course my first reaction was flaming angry, but it was quickly displaced by a penetrating sadness. Have we really come to the point that the USDA gets to tell me what "qualifies nutritionally". My kids are enrolled in a public school, which is a wonderful privilege offered to all children in this amazing country that we live in. A country that was founded off the suffering of people searching for true freedom. Now I know that it might seem like a stretch to compare this letter to our founding fathers quest for freedom. but truly, I thought we had evolved so much further. Since when did 100% juice not "qualify nutritionally". This means that when we purchase school lunch (which we pay $2 for) there is NO substitute for the milk. I had to fight with the school last year to get them to see that they were forcing me to pay for milk. There reply was "Well, your student doesn't HAVE to drink the milk". I understand that, but I have a very difficult time paying for something that I DON'T WANT. And so they offered juice as a substitute only for those students that specifically asked for it.
I have heard arguments that the sugar in juice is not desirable for children....fine. But there are no medically sound studies that link sugar (specifically fruit sugar) to CANCER or DIABETES. Yet there are THOUSANDS of just such studies that link milk consumption to cancer, diabetes and all sorts of diseases and illnesses. Not some "quacks" opinions, but true medical professional, researchers, and world-renowned universities. I recognize that this is not the common belief among the majority of the population. I understand that many still believe that milk is something that our children need. To read a little more about milk, click here. But in all honesty, how can we possibly think that the juice that comes naturally from fruits that are naturally grown in the earth does not "QUALIFY NUTRITIONALLY".....Ughh!
I won't even get into any of the environmental issues or animal rights here! (But let me just say that I certainly hope all the Prius drivers and compact florescent lightbulb users are also conscious of there dairy and meat consumption, since this is hands down the largest offender to our environmental issues).
I am not just looking for a fight (honestly) or seeking to be offended...I'm just sad! Can't we do a little better than this? Can't we as a society do just a little bit better for our children? Doesn't the rising generation deserve just a little bit better? Is the dairy industry in charge of our dietary guidelines, or are our trusted officials? And are they truly looking out for our best interest as they are sworn to do? Just makes me think a little, that's all.
Looks like I will have to look into what "non-disabling milk allergies" means. I wonder if the fact that when humans drink cow's milk it increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the bloodstream, which just happens to be a very powerful stimulant for cancer growth...sounds like an "allergy" to me!