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LAUSD to 'Food Revolution' show: 'No thanks'

January 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A food fight of sorts is brewing in Los Angeles. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver wants to start a "Food Revolution," but local schools are teaching him a lesson."You could call it 'stirring things up.' That wouldn't be far off the truth," said Oliver.

The Brit is back and he is steaming. Oliver, of the Emmy-winning show "Food Revolution," crossed the country from Huntington, West Virginia, to check our plates in Los Angeles.

"I'm not used to being shut out by places paid for by the taxpayer," said Oliver.

The Los Angeles Unified School District took a pass on his assistance to make the school nutrition program better.

"I can't even see, smell, feel or touch anything that goes on that touches 650,000 of your kids every single day," said Oliver. "The LAUSD have basically shut me out of going to any school."

Responding in a written statement, LAUSD spokesman Robert Alaniz emphasized what the school district is already doing.

"Those changes include banning the sale of unhealthy beverages like sodas and junk food on school campuses, eliminating trans fats and palm oil from foods served at schools, reducing sodium levels and added sugars, and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables," said Alaniz. "LAUSD has opted to not participate in another segment of reality television because we believe real change for healthier food options comes from implementing genuine policies and practices that make a difference."

LAUSD also added a tasters cafe that buses kids in to test healthy yet innovative items to broaden school menus. During a visit last May, kids tried whole-wheat empanadas, shepherd's pie, hummus and pita bread to name a few.

"It's great it's changed," said parent Eric Lukoski. "They took out Tyson, we got 'em gone. There's no pizza. They bread all the chicken with whole wheat."

With or without the schools, the "Food Revolution" program will open free cooking facilities across L.A., open a healthy fast-food drive-through, and educate the community to create better nutrition awareness.

Now Oliver isn't giving up on getting into the schools, so he's asking parents to come to his kitchen in Westwood to voice concerns and chew the fat.