In a major victory for California milk consumers, the state Supreme Court yesterday upheld California's longstanding milk quality and nutrition standards. According to the Court, "The question is whether the more stringent state provisions alone apply or whether the less stringent federal provisions are applicable as alternatives. The answer, as we shall explain, is that the more stringent state provisions alone apply."

Leading health and nutrition groups hailed today's decision by the state's highest court. The decision also represented another setback in a long line of rejections for Shamrock Foods Company who has been attempting to lower California's milk quality and nutrition standards for the past several years. Previously, the United States Supreme Court and the California State Legislature overwhelmingly rejected Shamrock's claims.

"We were confident that the justices would look out for the best interests of all Californians and they did just that by maintaining the highest quality, most nutritious milk in the nation. This is a major victory for California consumers and we applaud their decision," said Michael Boccadoro of Californians for Nutritious Milk.

"Today's decision is clearly a triumph for all Californians, but especially our children and teens," said Jo Ann Hattner, R.D., M.P.H., and one of the state's most well respected pediatric dietitians. According to Ms. Hattner, "Young Californians benefit from the added calcium in our milk and the Court's decision today protects that benefit."

"California's milk quality and nutrition standards are an essential tool in our fight against osteoporosis - a debilitating disease that will affect one out of every two women and one out of five men over fifty in their lifetime," said Robin Reiner, Executive Director of the Foundation for Osteoporosis Research and Education. "We applaud the Court's decision. Prevention of this disease is extremely important because while there are treatments for osteoporosis, there is as yet no cure."

For the past 38 years Californians have benefited from drinking the highest quality, most nutritious milk in the nation. In addition to the added nutritional benefits, California milk standards offer a higher quality, more consistent, better tasting product. Milk processed under California standards provides California consumers a unique nutritional package -- with up to 33% more calcium than milk processed at the federal standards -- as well as higher levels of other essential vitamins, minerals and protein. Since dairy products contribute about three-quarters of the calcium in the American diet, those most at risk are more likely to meet their needs for this important nutrient by drinking California milk - especially school children. California schools most often serve 1% and 2% milk, which offers between 20% and 33% more calcium than 1% and 2% milk found in other states.

The Arizona-based Shamrock Foods and its front-group, Mad About Milk, have been continuously fighting to "water-down" California's milk standards.

"This is the third strike against Shamrock and should bring an end to their ill-conceived efforts to lower California's milk quality standards," said Boccadoro. "Shamrock's claims have now been rejected by the state and U.S. Supreme Courts as well as the state Legislature. There is no one left to argue before."

Californians for Nutritious Milk is a coalition of leading health, nutrition and education professionals, as well as dairy producers and processors, working to ensure that Californians continue to drink the highest quality, most nutritious milk in the nation. For more information call Mike Bowman at 916/441-3617 or visit