SOURCE: Driftwood Dairy

May 09, 2008 12:01 ET

High Fructose Corn Syrup in Milk? Not for One Million So Cal Kids

Local Dairy First in CA to Supply Healthier Flavored Milk to Schools

EL MONTE, CA--(Marketwire - May 9, 2008) - Many healthcare experts cite consumption of foods and drinks containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as one of the major causes of childhood obesity in the United States. For years, HFCS has been the sweetener of choice for popular drinks like sodas and even 'healthier' alternatives like juices and dairy drinks. Now, in a groundbreaking move, the largest milk supplier to Southern California public schools -- Driftwood Dairy -- is one of the first in the country and the first in California to remove high fructose corn syrup in all its flavored milk. Through its Totally Healthy initiative, Driftwood Dairy is proud to announce that the chocolate, strawberry, root beer and orange crème milks it supplies to more than one million Southern California school children everyday will now be sweetened with natural evaporated cane juice.

"This change is integral to fighting childhood obesity in Southern California schools, thus keeping our kids Totally Healthy," says Laura Trujillo, registered dietitian and school sales manager for Driftwood Dairy. "The nearly 100 school districts we supply in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties support our move to providing kids with healthier beverage choices."

Unlike high fructose corn syrup which is a modified sweetener, Driftwood Dairy's secret weapon for making its flavored milk healthier is a natural product from the sugar cane fields of Hawaii. Natural evaporated cane juice, for example, has enabled Driftwood Dairy to lower the caloric and sugar content of its chocolate flavored milk by 20 calories and 5 grams of sugar. Therefore, each eight-ounce serving now only has 120 calories and 20 grams of sugar.

"I applaud Driftwood for making the health of our children a top priority when it comes to the products it offers to schools," says Ivy Marx, registered dietitian at one of the largest school districts in the country. "Driftwood's replacing the HFCS in its flavored milk with a natural sweetener is an example of the proactive steps we need to take to ensure the health and well-being of our children."

Many studies show that HFCS may lead to fat accumulation, obesity and other health problems. The findings indicate that HFCS readily turns to fat in the body more so than conventional sugar. It is also associated with higher triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol). The obesity problem in the U.S. has increased dramatically especially among kids that according to a Mayo Clinic article published in 2006, one-third of children in this country are overweight or at-risk of becoming overweight, totaling to about 25 million kids. That number has doubled for children between the ages of 6 to 11 and has tripled for teenagers over the last two decades.

Flavored milks are just as nutritious as regular white cow milk. In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that children who included flavored milk in their beverage selection actually drank more milk and got better nutrition. Both white and flavored milks contain a high proportion of nutrients in relation to calories. Chocolate milk, for example, provides the same essential nutrients as white milk, including calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B12, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and niacin. Like white milk, all versions of flavored milks provide 300 mg of calcium per serving or about one-third of children's daily calcium recommendation.

About Driftwood

A fixture in El Monte and Southern California since the 1920s, Driftwood Dairy is one of the largest independent dairy processing companies in the Western U.S. The company processes and packages a wide assortment of nutritious milk, juice, and other beverages and distributes a full line of dairy and other general grocery products including cheeses, salads, ice cream, yogurt, eggs and bread. Driftwood Dairy is the established leader in supplying school milk and juices to nearly 100 school districts in Southern California. The company's other customers include national and regional restaurant chains, grocery retailers, convenience stores, food manufacturers, hospitals and other health care facilities, institutions, foodservice distributors and other dairy processors. Driftwood Dairy is a portfolio company of Marwit Capital, a Southern California based investment firm with $250 million in capital under management that has been investing in entrepreneurial and family owned business in California and the Western U.S. since 1962. In addition to Driftwood Dairy, several of Marwit Capital's portfolio companies are leaders in promoting health and wellness initiatives across the country, including Solis Women's Health, the nation's leading independent provider of screening, diagnostic and other services to detect breast cancer, and Promax Nutrition, a leading provider of nutrition bars, protein drinks, and powdered supplements. To find out more about Driftwood Dairy, visit