History: School milk


Who remembers free school milk?

I can.

And yuck . . . warm, creamy milk in glass bottles that tasted horrible.

Why were the bottles always left in the sun to get warm, especially in summer? They could sit for quite sometime until recess, some probably went slighly off!

And if you forgot to shake the bottle you got a mouth full of clumpy cream!

The programme started at the beginning of the 20th century with all children in kindergarten, infant and primary schools receiving free milk to improve their nutrition and general health. Between 1951 and 1973 the Commonwealth Schools’ Free Milk Scheme  provided one third of a pint of whole milk per day to primary school children throughout Australia. The scheme ceased om 1973 but reintroduced in 1994.

I don't think I looked that happy drinking my milk!! (taken in 1957)
Providing the milk had cost $72,000 in 1951, whereas it had grown in cost to just over $10 million in 1969.  By 1970 the government was starting to wonder if the programme was producing any benefit, except turning children off milk. This document makes for interesting reading if you have time. It is the 1969 report into "Milk for School Children" and even though the programme had run for 20 years, no research had been undertaken to see if the $$$ spent had produced a positive outcome.  Interestingly, the report makes the following comment "Free milk is often warm when distributed" and that is my biggest memory of free milk - lukewarm milk and I am yet to find anyone who liked the warm milk.
1965 - glass bottles with the silver caps.
The milk producers were not very happy when the programme came to an end!

Comments

  1. That's interesting! We never had milk like that, but I do remember milk being delivered to our door in a glass bottle. I am actually going milk free for a month.

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    1. I couldn't live with out milk - but if it upsets up then you haven't any choice. I grew up on a farm where we drank raw milk which tastes quite different to what you get in the store. We use to drink it still warm on our breakfast.

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  2. In Poland free milk in schools was in the communist period - especially between the 50's and 80's. My mum was talking about it to me - she told that it was afwul. Last time I read, that scientists discovered, that for people older than 2 years old, cow's milk isn't health - if it is drunk too much, it can cause allergy and diabetes.

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    1. Our free milk was based on the British system and thought a good idea at the time!! Some people can't drink milk, my son needs to be careful not to drink to much otherwise it upsets his tummy. He is better with Soya milk.

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  3. Have heard stories about the warm milk. Can't stand slightly warm milk, myself...

    As for the milk allergies, from what I understand, that is a problem that has developed from all the things humans have done to the crops the cows eat, the pesticides in the ground where they graze (if they eat grass at all), the hormones given, the chemicals etc that are added, AND the processes done to the milk before it gets to our houses. Our bodies weren't supposed to process all those extras.

    I was thinking it might have something to do with the fact that people have not eaten a good diet (from birth) for a long time - perhaps if we all ate what God intended us to eat, our organs wouldn't fail to be able to process good foods and our bodies wouldn't fight against good food like it's something that needs to be rejected...
    Just a random theory that came to mind.

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  4. I beg to differ. I can remember getting free milk at concord public school as early as 1948. It was in half sized bottles. was always hot being left out in the sun. am I wrong?

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  5. I just discovered this post about school milk tonight. I started grade school in 1960. I don't think the milk at school was free. It seems they charged for it. It was horrible and tasted bad. I can still remember it's odor, more than 50 years later. I suddenly got so I wouldn't even drink milk at home, and had liked it until then. It so happened one day my Mom had gone up to the school for something one day just before lunch. As she came in the door, she spied crates and crates of the little milk cartons sitting out in the hot sun. She went over and felt of the containers and they were actually hot from the sun. She went directly to the principal's office and had Miss K the principal come out and check that milk for herself. Miss K, the principal was a good, down to earth woman and liked my Mom. After that milk deliveries were then stored inside out of the sun and the quality of the milk greatly improved. Apparently, no adults at the school ever drank the milk so were unaware that they were serving spoiled, rotten milk. I have always thought that that may be why so many people my age have hated drinking milk from the time they were school age.

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    1. I have never understood why anyone in their right mind thought storing milk in the full sun was a good idea!!!!! It was terrible, especially in the middle of summer. Even today I do not like warmed milk !!!

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  6. Wow - what a blast from the past! Our milk was not in glass bottles, but in paper cartons here in the U.S. - but it was equally yucky-tasting! And it wasn't even free!

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    1. And it put many people of milk for ever!!! This post has many visits since I wrote it in 2012, I think it brings back not so fond memories!!!

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  7. Our milk was not free. When I first got it I think it was part of our school lunches, which we paid for at varying rates. For families with a low income, like my own, the lunches were subsidized and we only paid 10 cents for them. They were pretty good lunches in the school where I remember them (So. California desert) - hot lunches and the cook was a good one. That was in the mid to late '70s.

    Later the milk was 10 cents a carton, and they were little paper cartons. It was always cold - kept in a fridge of some sort - and I don't remember disliking it particularly, though I didn't love it either. However, the last I had was around 1983 in a Christian school in Michigan. They offered the option of chocolate milk for 15 cents a carton and my mom agreed to us having this small luxury, which my brother and I enjoyed immensely. It was probably not the best for our health with the amount of sugar involved, but it was better than the plain milk, and our taste for milk was not ruined by it. :-) It was a treat that we looked forward to at lunch.

    I have to be very careful about drinking or eating any milk products that are made with fresh milk or cream. I even had to go off of cheese for awhile, though I'm able to tolerate it again now. I miss my milk, but the stomach ache is not worth it. All the non-dairy milks here contain other ingredients I can't tolerate, so I'm really stuck with no options at present.

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    1. I am yet to meet someone who enjoyed their free milk in Australia - perhaps had it been cold it might have been ok, but it was left in the sun until morning break at around 10am. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to leave fresh milk in the hot Australian sun for several hours - crazy!! Mind you, we all hung our school bags outside in the hot sun and it baked our lunches nicely (the butter went oily and I still can’t stand the taste or smell of hot cucumber!!)- it is amazing none of us got food poisoning (our stomachs must have been cast-iron!!!).

      I don’t drink cows milk any more - when my family moved to Soy (youngest when he became vegan and eldest when he became so intolerant to dairy) I made the switch and I have had less stomach issues - I am ok with cheese. I grew up with raw cows milk/cream/butter and even then I had to eat in moderation otherwise my tummy would get upset. The best cream in the world is straight from the cow - we gave jars of it away to family who couldn’t get enough of it!!

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