California dairy producer says there’s a win-win option for serving chocolate milk in schools.
California dairy producer Dino Giacomazzi thinks he has a solution to concerns about high sugar levels in chocolate milk.
But, first, he has to get the right people to listen.
Giacomazzi wants people like celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy to use their clout to help move dairy processors toward producing low-sugar flavored milk "so that kids can still have access to all of the great nutritional benefits of milk."
After the June 14 announcement by the LAUSD that it would ban serving chocolate and strawberry milk to students in the coming school year, Giocomazzi was motivated to go public with a letter he’s been trying for weeks to get published in Los Angeles-area newspapers.
Writing in his "A Dairyman’s Blog" June 15, Giacomazzi says he agrees there’s too much sugar in chocolate milk. "However, it’s simplistic to demonize one food and ban it completely, especially a food that delivers so much nutrition," he notes.
There is middle ground, Giacomazzi says, and it comes in the form of "smarter milk." Sweetened with stevia, a 100% natural, zero-calorie sweetener, "smarter milk" has been developed by the dairy industry. According to Giacomazzi, each serving has 71% less added sugar, 50 fewer calories, 13 grams fewer carbohydrates and 10 grams fewer total sugars than traditional chocolate milk while providing the same amount of calcium, vitamin D and protein.
"I’ve tasted a version of this chocolate milk and it’s great," he says.
There’s a successful precedent in New York schools that used "smarter milk," Giocomazzi adds. Not only did students get healthier milk but milk sales increased too.
"Dairy farmers understand the problem with traditional chocolate milk, and we’ve been trying for years to encourage processors to produce lower sugar chocolate milk," he writes. "Now that solutions are available, it’s time to move. Let’s get serious about working together to help our children."
Giacomazzi, who milks 950 cows at his dairy near Hanford, wants Oliver and Deasy to sit down with him to talk about "smarter milk."
"I believe we have a solution where everyone can be happy," he says.