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Say Goodbye To Strawberry Milk In MCPS

By Aaron Kraut

Wednesday - 12/4/2013, 1:25pm  ET

Flickr photo by Tim NagooglyMontgomery County Public Schools will soon trash strawberry flavored milk in cafeterias, what’s being hailed as big news by those who say the sugary pink milk means unfocused kids.

Marla Caplon, director of food and nutrition services for MCPS, said the milk will no longer be in school cafeterias once students return to school from winter break on Jan. 5.

The half-pint bottles have 120 calories, five milligrams of cholesterol, 115 milligrams of sodium, no grams of fat and 22 grams of carbohydrates, according to MCPS food data. But parents, including groups such as the Real Food for Kids Montgomery nonprofit, were more concerned with the Red Dye No. 40, high fructose corn syrup and sugar in the milk.

There is evidence that certain food dyes — including Red Dye No. 40 — contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The discontinuation of strawberry milk was called “incredible news” by one poster on a local neighborhood listserv:

….. the incredible news that MCPS is discontinuing the strawberry-flavored milk as of the first of January 2014! This is a big win for the kids in MCPS. Getting rid of the strawberry milk, as it contains Red Dye #40, artificial chemical flavor, high fructose corn syrup, propylene glycol and 25 grams of sugar – more sugar than a Snicker’s Bar is wonderful news! We say good riddance to the pink milk, and hello to calmer, better behaved children ready to learn!

The poster also asked parents to thank Caplon for making the change.

The Real Food for Kids Montgomery group has called for the removal of strawberry and chocolate milk from MCPS cafeterias. According to the group, which in May made a request to remove additives in all cafeteria foods, MCPS believed flavored milk encourages students to consume calcium.

Caplon said she’s always open to suggestions.

“The goal of my division is to always provide the best for our students,” Caplon wrote in an email. “We are always open and willing to make changes and improvements.”

Flickr photo by Tim Nagoogly