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Los Angeles the Worst Jamie Oliver’s Seen in Food Revolution’s Season 2 Premier

The premier of season two of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was better than I had hoped. It had everyone in my house shocked and engaged. I couldn’t keep up with the discussion on twitter because #foodrevolution was a trending topic with hundreds of tweets every minute. If you missed it this week, I will catch you up. Hopefully you can join the conversation tweeting live with us next week.

This season Jamie is in Los Angeles, but he has been banned from the LAUSD school system. Even after going before the school board, not like a celebrity but like any other citizen in a three minute slot, Jamie was dismissed unceremoniously. At one point, Jamie stated that his welcome in Huntington, WV, reportedly the unhealthiest city in the U.S., was warm compared to the cold shoulder he was receiving in L.A. Because he was not allowed in the schools, he asked school children and their parents to bring him food items from the school. Jamie stated that it was the worst school menu he had seen anywhere (and twitter seemed to agree). It was revealed that to save money, food is only prepared in one kitchen for all the schools in L.A. – the meals were only warmed in house.

One of the things Jamie does best is visual illustrations that reveal the shocking reality that he hopes to change. The season premiere included three moving illustrations. My favorite was using a live cow to show various cuts of beef and their market price. It was sweet to watch Jamie wash the cow after the demonstration. This first illustration extended into the second when Jamie revealed what is done with the leftover parts of the cow not fit for human consumption, or so we thought. Although these trimmings are generally used as part of chicken feed or dog food, in America, the FDA allows it to be “washed” in ammonia and used as a filler for up to 15 percent of ground beef, without listing ammonia on any ingredient label. Do you know what is in your beef?

After crashing a lecture on keeping flavored milk in schools, Jamie revealed that flavored milk is banned in Europe. Filling a school bus until it over flowed with the amount of sugar consumed in a single week through flavored milk was a spectacle, but his comparison that we are giving our children the amount of sugar in a candy bar to get them to drink milk is what got me. How healthy can that be really? Research shows that stickers are enough positive reinforcement to motivate children, yet we are hopping them up on 28 grams of sugar in every serving of milk?!?

The other major piece of the season premiere was Jamie trying to convince the owner of an independent fast food restaurant to improve the health and quality of menu items. Although both the owner and a customer preferred the taste of Jamie’s healthy burger, neither were willing to take on more cost for more flavor and better health. The argument between Jamie and the owner over whether a milkshake requires ice-cream or not was disturbing to me, especially after a child taste-approved Jamie’s milk, fruit, and yogurt version. Even though both versions had milk, the owner was unwilling to consider even reducing the amount of ice cream in the milkshakes. When Jamie asked him to simply treat his customers like his children, his response was a flat no.

Tune in next week to find out if Jamie can honor his wife’s request that he not get himself arrested. I hope to be joining in the twitter conversation again; will you?

April 13th, 2011

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