Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods

coverThe United States is in the midst of a public health epidemic due to poor diet. While much of the focus has been on obvious culprits such as sugary soft drinks and fast food, dairy foods often get a pass. The dairy industry, propped up by government, has convinced us of the health benefits of milk and other dairy products. But the context of how people consume dairy matters.

My new report, Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods, shines a light on the shifting patterns of consumption away from plain milk toward dairy products laden with sugar, fat, and salt. For example:

  • About half of all milk is consumed either as flavored milk, with cereal, or in a drink;
  • Nearly half of the milk supply goes to make about 9 billion pounds of cheese and 1.5 billion gallons of frozen desserts–two-thirds of which is ice cream;
  • 11 percent of all sugar goes into the production of dairy products.

It’s bad enough for the dairy industry to promote junk food in the name of health, but making matters worse, Uncle Sam is propping up the effort. The federal government mandates the collection of industry fees for “checkoff programs” to promote milk and dairy. Far from being just a privately-funded program, U.S. Department of Agriculture employees attend checkoff meetings, monitor activities, and are responsible for evaluation of the programs. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the checkoff programs as “government speech”, finding: “the message … is controlled by the Federal Government.”

Checkoff money is also only supposed to be used for “generic” marketing activities. However, the program gives a huge boost to leading fast food chains. For example:

  • McDonald’s has six dedicated dairy checkoff program employees at its corporate headquarters who work to ensure that dairy plays an important role in McDonald’s product development;
  • The dairy checkoff program helped Taco Bell introduce its double steak quesadillas and cheese shreds, which resulted in a four percent increase in the chain’s dairy sales;
  • The dairy checkoff program helped Pizza Hut develop a 3-Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza and the “Summer of Cheese” ad campaign;
  • Dominos benefitted from a $35 million partnership with the dairy checkoff program, resulting in the company adding more cheese, with other pizza makers following their lead;
  • Domino’s “Smart Slice” program brought the pizza to more than 2,000 schools in 2011, with help from the checkoff.

Speaking of schools, the dairy industry, with a government assist, is heavily promoting chocolate and other sugar milks to schoolchildren, desperate to maintain its presence in a lucrative market with a captive audience. For example:

  • USDA’s milk checkoff program promotes “Chocolate Milk Has Muscle” and “Raise Your Hand for Chocolate Milk” campaigns to defend chocolate milk;
  • Dean Foods’ TruMoo is a popular brand sold in schools; one serving of TruMoo strawberry milk contains an incredible 21 grams of sugar;
  • Milk checkoff educational materials were even used to change the mind of one school official who was planning to remove flavored milk.

Finally, many federal checkoff-funded dairy organizations make dubious health claims to market their dressed up junk foods. Would you believe that:

  • “Cheese can fit into almost any eating plan”;
  • “Process cheese is made from natural cheese”;
  • “Cheese contributes essential nutrients for good health”;
  • “Chocolate milk is the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and protein—a combination that can’t be found in any other beverage”.

At a time when our nation is suffering from an epidemic of diet-related health problems, we cannot allow the decades of whitewashing by the dairy industry to continue. The assumption that eating dairy is essential to the diet has obstructed our ability to criticize federal government support for unhealthy forms of dairy.

It’s time to stop dancing around the federal checkoff programs by pretending they are privately-funded. As this report demonstrates, federal government administers, oversees, and approves almost every aspect of the dairy checkoff program. These funds are directly used to promote junk foods, which are contributing to the diseases our federal government is allegedly trying to prevent.

Andy Bellatti is a registered dietitian who contributed to the report by calling out the many misleading health claims made by the dairy industry. He says:

In our cultural glorification of dairy, we often forget that many of these products are directly contributing to our current public health epidemic. Even more troubling, due to the dairy industry’s deep pockets and political connections, federal authorities are giving these foods a stamp of approval, rather than raising a nutritional red flag.

Read the executive summary here.

Read the full report here.

79 Responses to “Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods”

  1. Steve says:

    Wow! What a report. There are so many claims that you and Andy make from a nutritional stand point that I could debate, but there aren’t enough hours in the day.
    But I will make a few comments.
    First you provide no evidence that dairy makes a major contribution to the obesity problem. I guess we’ll have to take your word on that.
    Second, I’m sure that much of the reduction in milk consumption over the past century is a result of an increase in soda consumption. And I would rather my kids drink a glass of milk than soda any day.
    That is quite a manifesto of recommendations that you say need to be changed in the dairy industry. Telling an entire industry that they shouldn’t be allowed to promote their products sounds like anti-capitalism to me.
    If I were to venture a guess, you seem to have a vegan agenda. I can tell you have already made up your mind that dairy is bad. The fact that you can write a report that long, and not give a single kudos to it, tells me what I need to know. Yes, other foods have nutrients that are found in milk products. Like wise, there is no single food in our diet that is essential, even kale, as we can always find another source of those nutrients, if we don’t prefer that one. There is no food that has 100% of what we need. But milk comes closer to it than anything out there. The key is getting as much nutrition as possible in the foods we eat. If people enjoy consuming a variety of dairy products, they should have that prerogative.
    Lastly, referring to industries as “Big Ag”, “Big Sugar” or “Big Dairy”, as your way of making an insult is getting very tiresome. Throwing insults is a very ineffective way of conducting public discourse with companies you don’t like. I have found that being polite, diplomatic and open minded usually has better results.
    Thank you for the opportunity for dialogue.

    • Stephen says:

      Milk products contain the protein casein, the most carsenogenic substance in the general food supply. Soda contains cancer-promoting sugar or chemicals. So picking which of these toxic substances is worse can be a challenge. Since dairy also contains animal fat, another known potant carsenogen and possibly salt, I think I’d choose to consume soda and then plan to burn off the excess calories as fast aspossible.

      • Why pick either one? The only beverage the human body needs is water.

      • Tyrannocaster says:

        So fat is a “carsenogen” now? And salt is evil, too. Somebody has been asleep for longer than Rip Van Winkle…

        Given that a large percentage of Americans are actually incapable of digesting most milk products, it’s amazing how much support the dairy lobby gets from the government. Adding all that sugar is just literally the icing on the cake.

      • Annabelle says:

        Stephen, you said: “Milk products contain the protein casein, the most carsenogenic [sic] substance in the general food supply.”
        Do you have a reference for that statement? I am assuming, in the absence of a citation, that you are referring to the China study, which is inconclusive at best, and more likely flawed to begin with. It in no way supports labeling casein as “the most carcinogenic substance in the food supply.”

        • Paul says:

          Please point out the flaws that lead you to doubt the evidence in the China Study, or is this just an attempt to discredit it?

          • vear says:

            The actual China study did not study casein. The book “The China Study talked about the research done where casein was studied. There’s a difference. Here’s your reference: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6131741

          • vear says:

            Here’s another one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6132019

            And just to clarify things, I am a Biochemist, it’s my career, my life. You need to have an understanding of the scientific process and experimental design before you dismiss studies. Do you actually know anything about the study done in China? Do you understand the magnitude?

          • someone says:

            So here’s the thing, if you bother to actually *read* TC Campbell’s work you’ll get a different picture entirely from his recent writings:

            “inhibition of foci development with the low-protein diet may be related to an inhibition of cell replication… These reports, along with those of others…, indicate
            that cell replication is a crucial event in the process of neoplastic development. Dietary protein deprivation has been shown to inhibit liver cell replication… This inhibition of liver cell replication may explain why animals fed the 5% casein diets during the postdosing period failed to develop as many GGT-positive foci as animals fed the 20% casein diets, particularly in view of the fact that more rapidly proliferating cells of foci may possess a greater requirement for amino acids for protein synthesis.”

            - “Effect of high and low dietary protein on the dosing and postdosing periods of aflatoxin B1-induced hepatic preneoplastic lesion development in the rat.”

            So there you have it, low protein inhibits cell division (all cell division) and hence can slow the growth of tumors. Not exactly an amazing discovery, and not one with much significance since protein is essential for growth and repair of healthy tissues. And nothing that suggests casein is somehow a unique villain, which is good since almost all mammals consume lots of it in infancy.

        • Rose says:

          Just curious Annabelle but are you a Doctor? MD? Worked for the Dairy council? Been involved in the research regarding the dangers of Milk for 30 years? Dr Colin Campbell who wrote the China Study is all of the above.Not sure why you think it is inconclusive.Do you have another comprehensive study that is unbiased that you have published? It paints a very clear picture for me.

    • Laura says:

      Steve, speaking of having the prerogative to consume a variety of dairy products, I own a warehouse with hundreds of female zebras crammed into it. We artificially inseminate them over and over, each time removing their babies so we can take their milk and sell it to people instead. It makes great cheese and ice cream, too. The female baby zebras go on to also involuntarily produce milk for people for their entire lives, and the male baby zebras become zebra veal since they can’t produce mothers’ milk and aren’t the right breed to become zebra steak. I can tell you have already made up your mind that zebra “dairy” is bad. But somehow doing this same exact thing with cows instead is okay, natural, and nutritious. I guess we can only be as “open minded” as we’ve been brainwashed to be by people who profit from the bizarre idea of removing milk from mother cows. :-/

    • Stephanie says:

      The article isn’t anti dairy but anti using government money to promote junk food! No reasonable person would claim Pizza Hut’s 3-cheese pizza or Taco Bell’s quesadillas are health food. It’s easy to see how these high calorie, relatively cheap, widely available foods often served (and therefore typically consumed) in large portions can contribute to the obesity epidemic and health problems.

      • Joel Milne says:

        I would encourage anyone who eats any cow milk products to go suck directly on a cows tits until the police take them away. It is a form of fetish activity to want to impregnate and milk cows and just because it’s been “normalized” doesn’t really make it any less bizarre.

        And it’s a good point Laura that we could do this kind of insanity to any animal. Cows were probably chosen because of their size and relatively easy management but it could have been a larger animal, a smaller one, and the point is imprisoning animals is a shameful example of human ignorance. Fortunately, we’re winning the battle to turn that around day by day.

    • Stephen,

      As a nutrition professional, I do not encourage my clients to drink milk because of the increased risk in breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple sclerosis.

      I am a wonk about good studies. A good study has repeatable outcomes done numerous times in different places. The casein in milk is a preferred food for cancer cells. When the cancer “digests” the casein in milk, the cancer cells stop. When casein is added, they start working again. This has been shown many times.

      Being a mother, I limit my child’s access to soda. Therefore, limiting his over intake of calories. I limit the type of soda.

      We do not have dairy in our home because no limitation decreases this risk.

      My personal agenda is science.

    • Christy says:

      If I were to venture a guess I’d say that Steve has an “anti vegan” agenda.

      As for milk being some kind of a health food, my parents made me drink it every day and it contributed greatly to my allergies and asthma which I only discovered after I cut it out as a adult. Many people in the world are lactose intolerant. Today’s milk supply is also overloaded with antibiotics and hormones which nobody really needs.

      Average cheese consumption HAS increased from 8 lbs. a year in 1970 to 23 lbs. a year today from the average US consumer which would make it a likely contributor to the obesity epidemic since it is so caloric.

    • Derk says:

      There are many problems with dairy both from a nutritional standpoint and from an animal rights standpoint. Regardless of whether or not casein is carcinogenic, dairy products are concentrated sources of cholesterol, IGF-1, hormones, antibiotics etc. Not to mention that it’s just plain gross and unnecessary. You can get good clean protein and nutrients from Organic Soymilk or other plant milks minus the cruelty. Cows milk is meant for calves. It is meant to turn a baby calf into a full size cow in less than a year. Not to mention that the Dairy industry is one of the cruelest. There is more suffering in a glass of milk than in a steak. Don’t confuse this though, all animal exploitation involves extreme cruelty and violence since one cannot be SLAUGHTERED without it. Male calves never taste their mothers milk, they are confined to tiny veal crates for a short period til slaughter or confined for a longer period, then slaughtered anyways. If you eat or drink any animal products, you are supporting animal cruelty, period. There is no such thing as “humane” meat or dairy. It all involves enslavement, suffering, mutilation, torture and then murder. With all the delicious Vegan options out there, there is no reason to NOT go Vegan, unless you just don’t care. I encourage all of you to go to Earthlings.com and watch for free. Very informative documentary. Have a great day everyone.

  2. Sara says:

    Steve, she doesn´t have to have a “vegan agenda” to be against the government giving money to corporations in the name of “public health”. It´s not about whether dairy is good or bad. It´s about them promoting 3-cheese stuffed crust pizza, and chocolate milk with as much as 23 grams of sugar in it as healthy and the government sponsoring it.

    • Steve says:

      The money that is used is not from taxpayers, it is from check off funds that are contributed from dairy producers. While I understand that not all dairy producers contribute willingly, you could never get thousands of producers of a commodity to 100% agree to a check off. You have to go with what the majority vote for. Even the unwilling producers still benefit. But the folks that implement the use of the funds make decisions of how the money is spent, and that includes working with companies that purchase and market their products. That’s just business. Most dairy producers do not sell directly to consumers. They sell to grocery stores, restaurants and other food companies that do sell to consumers. So you have to cooperate with the companies that sell the largest amounts of your product.
      Obviously people at the USDA do believe that milk products are part of a healthy diet, as do I. Most people consume dairy products in moderation and are healthy. And those that over consume cheese or ice cream probably over consume many other foods as well. Again, its funded by dairy producer check off money, not money from taxpayers. And again, Michele has not provided any evidence that dairy products are a cause of obesity.
      And in case you’re wondering, I am not a dairy producer or involved in the dairy industry, but I do enjoy all types of dairy products, especially ice cream.

  3. Sand says:

    Exactly, as Sara put it, it’s not a battle pro or anti dairy, in a typical “you’re either with us or against us” logic. If there’s any battle in there, it is one for real and nutritional food, by opposition to highly processed, unhealthy or straightforward toxic food. It is a call for quality instead of the acceptance of stupid standards that in reality, may you agree or not, only serve industrial giants (and pharmaceutical ones indirectly). It is politics.

    I personally do not think dairy is bad at all, I think it’s its industrialization and commercialization that makes it so. I’ll invite you to try and see the wider vision that such a study could suggest, and note that it may very well apply to any eating lifestyle or “agenda”: whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, meat lover, pescetarian, raw foodist, you name it… you are bound to eat crap if you only rely on industrial food (most of the food available nowadays), AND bound to be the target to some sort of marketing performed by the profit-makers. It’s nothing new.

    Yes, it is capitalism. And I think that, by now, it is quite obvious that, if left untamed, it is a dangerous beast. It is not about “telling an entire industry that they shouldn’t be allowed to promote their products”, it is only about raising awareness and regulating this “promotion”, one that exploits ignorance – which looks more like dishonesty to me. I didn’t see many people complain when cocaine stopped being broadly promoted as a safe and useful tonic that could cure depression and sexual impotence, or when advertisement for cigarettes started being controlled, and slogans like “recommended by doctors for a good digestion” faded in history…

    So back to food. If only people understood that the key to healthy eating is variety, moderation and most importantly quality, we wouldn’t be having this debate. We wouldn’t have to go by any guidelines and standards, except what our bodies, environments and seasons dictate. It’s been working for thousands of years (whereas the decline in human health over the last century suggests that humanity is suddenly not doing as well anymore). As Steve suggested, there is no food that contains all we need (“superfoods” are just another trendy marketing invention, that make people go overboard on something “because it’s good for you”). Just think of how many livestock / chicken farms, dairies, cereal companies, fisheries, non-organic farmers, investors in “health food” industry (quinoa, flaxseeds, avocado,… you know, all the stuff that existed before sliced bread), are involved, and try to fathom the astronomical figures at stake, you’ll quickly understand that the interest in your health and wellbeing doesn’t stand a chance: you are just a consumer, and ANYTHING will be used to make you buy.

    • Paul says:

      decline of human health over last century ? I think that is wrong. Life expectancy is up over the last century, though one can debate what are the key factors, eg smoking decline, clean water etc.

      • Joel says:

        Life expectancy (longevity) is one thing, quality of life is another. Is ten more years of misery with disease, drugs, doctors and hosptials an advance? The idea is to square the curve.

  4. Janet Cross says:

    Less than 1 percent of Government subsidies fund green vegetables. The bulk of food subsidies go to the production of meat, dairy, corn, alcohol and sugar. Is government seeking to create more jobs in the health care sector?

  5. Fran Rush says:

    To Steve: Read “The China Study” to see how they turned on and off the growth of cancer tumors with the casein from milk (in rats). I wouldn’t want my kids drinking milk. The Dairy Industry is so powerful it’s scary. I asked my college students why they drank/ate dairy and almost every one said “to have strong bones and teeth.”
    I agree with Sara too.

    • john burris says:

      I’m a heavy dairy consumer and one of the healthiest people on the planet at age 49.

      • Joel says:

        Sorry john, that factoid is meaningless in this discussion. I would do a quick study of basic statistical concepts if I were you.
        It’s also a vague statement since there is no criteria stated for “health”, “healthier” or “healthiest”. I don’t know, but I doubt you and I would use the same definitions.
        In addition, what does “…one of the…” mean? One of the top 10 ‘healthiest’, or one of the top million ‘healthiest’ or one of the top billion ‘healthiest’? That’s a rhetorical question since you’re unable to answer it. Being able to define healthiest” in a rational way and then being able to discover that you’re one of the top billion would be nothing special. I’d speculate there are millions in that category who consume no dairy and millions more who only consume organic and/or fermented dairy, which is far more healthier by any criterion.

  6. Lia says:

    I’m not going to comment too extensively on the definition of health in this article, because it sounds like health is being conflated with body fat, and I could write an essay on why that’s not OK.

    But I do need to bring it up just to comment that it’s very scary that the working definition of health that the US government seems to be falling back on is how thin you are, and how little fat and sugar you consume, and then they’re backing foods for children that are increasingly loaded with fat and sugar. If they really think childhood obesity is a problem, and they really believe that fats and sugars are causing it, why are they putting even more sugar-loaded drinks into children’s hands? It doesn’t add up.

    The answer is that capitalism trumps government. The government is in bed with industry, and that’s a plain fact. The government doesn’t actually have to believe in what it does, as long as they appease the industry players that fund them at the end of the day.

    So yes, Steve, expecting a division between industry and government is inherently anti-capitalist at this point. And I’m a staunch anti-capitalist, because capitalism is at the bottom of every problem we face today, from world hunger to climate change to the system of oppression that causes tremendous suffering (and even high suicide rates) in a vast portion of the population.

    This article has its issues, but its criticism of government and capitalism certainly isn’t the hill I’m about to die on.

    • michele says:

      Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment. I am not sure why you think I conflate health with body size, as I don’t think I even mention the word obesity. Except in the context of the dairy industry claiming their products are good for weight loss, which is absurd. I strive in my work to not have weight be the focus, so if I failed in that effort, please do let me know how. Thanks again for your comment.

    • Patrick says:

      I had to respond to this statement (paragraph): “The answer is that capitalism trumps government. The government is in bed with industry, and that’s a plain fact. The government doesn’t actually have to believe in what it does, as long as they appease the industry players that fund them at the end of the day.”

      That is NOT capitalism. That is corporatism. Free market capitalism would require all business to succeed or fail on its own merit, not on assistance from the government in the form of regulations, subsidies, or the like. So bemoan Corporatism, and try to understand more about what capitalism really is.

      • Paul says:

        I doubt that “capitalism” as defined by Patrick has ever existed anywhere on this planet outside of some Econ 101 textbook or libertarian fantasyland. Government and business always go hand in hand in the real world

  7. Laurel says:

    Um, the last time I checked, cheese was not a junk food. And it does in fact contain nutrients that are essential for good health. How could one possibly suggest otherwise, unless they are of the opinion that all dairy products are unhealthy? It is absolutely despicable that you would lump cheese in with sugary, flavored milk drinks. THAT is what gives away the vegan agenda in this article. Give me a freaking break. Hopefully your readers aren’t as stupid as you clearly think they are.

    • tracy says:

      Cheese is very high in fat, calories and sodium. It is also highly processed. The nutrients can be found in veggies. That is a fact, just look at the nutrition label on your cheese. Now how is that vegan agenda?

      • sara says:

        Just because it’s on the nutrition label doesn’t mean your body can absorb it. Cheese and other dairy products have more readily available nutrients than vegetables.

        • Jon Corey says:

          I’m curious what you base this on? According to the ANDI scale which measures the nutrient density of foods (much like the way science can determine that calories of foods), dairy is among the lowest and dark leafy greens among the highest.

      • TDB says:

        Naturally aged cheese is not a processed food. American faux cheese is not even technically cheese it’s soybean curd. Very few stores even sell real cheese in America. Real cheese and raw milk is very good for you. Pasteurized milk is bad enough; adding things like high fructose corn syrup to it makes things worse.

  8. Donna says:

    But it should be about whether dairy is good or bad. And dairy is very, very bad for humans. Just read “The China Study,” the largest study of human nutrition ever, by T. Colin Campbell. Not only is government supporting this highly toxic “food”, it supports it by choosing to promote it when combined with other poor “food” choices. What’s going on? Government is more interested in supporting the dairy industry than it is in keeping the population healthy. I think it’s time we stopped relying on overly-lobbied big government to tell us what to eat, and do the research ourselves.

    • john burris says:

      The China Study is VERY flawed and is based mostly on observational analysis instead of empirical evidence.

      • Joel says:

        What is flawed in this misleading statement is that “observational analysis” and “empirical evidence” are not oppositional, rather they go together. Empirical evidence is gathered by observation – without it there is nothing to analyze.

  9. Stephen,

    As a nutrition professional, I do not encourage my clients to drink milk because of the increased risk in breast cancer, prostate cancer and multiple sclerosis.

    I am a wonk about good studies. A good study has repeatable outcomes done numerous times in different places. The casein in milk is a preferred food for cancer cells. When the cancer “digests” the casein in milk, the cancer cells stop. When casein is added, they start working again. This has been shown many times.

    Being a mother, I limit my child’s access to soda. Therefore, limiting his over intake of calories. I limit the type of soda.

    We do not have dairy in our home because no limitation decreases this risk.

    My personal agenda is science.

    • Liz says:

      Good to know! My 2-year-old daughter drinks a lot of milk and I have wondered if it was bad for her (worried about growth hormones, etc. plus treatment of animals – we are vegetarian). Sounds like I need to do my research. Thanks for your comment!

      • Joel says:

        Liz, I would stop wondering and worrying and get all ‘conventional’ dairy out of the house! “Milk” includes the metabolic residue of antibiotics, pus, growth hormones and is then homogenized and pasteurized. To top it off, conventional dairy cows have been eating genetically modified corn/grains and potentially genetically modified alfalfa as well. Contrast that with raw milk from a hygienically-conscious producer who’s cows eat organically-grown grass only. Do you see the double-edged sword of language? “Milk” is not always “Milk”, “Dairy” is not alway “Dairy”. The language is lacking and industries take full advantage of that to sell more processed, mutated and chemicalized food products that use the same word as their fresh, whole, unprocessed, optimally nutritious counterparts containing all the enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

        • Brandon says:

          Oooh you were doing so well until you got to the anti GMO nonsense. Lost me. Also, the public sentiment that organically produced food is in some way nutritionally more beneficial is not true and a result of marketing. I encourage people to buy organic because it’s better for the environment, not because it’s “better for you”.

  10. June Pagan says:

    You are spot on!

  11. Amy says:

    So the govt supports an unhealthy lifestyle and then promotes to the country that the insurance companies are at fault???? Interesting …

  12. Steve says:

    I think the problem with the concept that government or USDA should or should not be involved in promoting commodity products to help farmers has a major obstacle. If they are going to be involved, who gets the say of what gets promoted and what is healthy. Is any type of comfort food off the table. I don’t really know anybody who doesn’t want to have a treat once in while. How do we decide the balance of amino acids, various types of fatty acids and/or percent fat, mono-saccharides versus poly-saccharides, water soluble and fat soluble vitamin content, mineral profile, level of neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber, lignin content, etc. I’m pretty sure that any group of nutritionists would have a difficult time sorting what foods are healthy enough to be advertised with USDA assistance and which aren’t. If it can’t be black and white, it will just wind up in court, which is probably what Michele would prefer. I’m sure a group of vegans could decide, but I don’t want them deciding for me.
    Oh, and by the way, if anybody really does have some zebra milk out there, please send it to me. I would love to try some. I would get some myself, but it seems a little risky!

    • michele says:

      Hi Steve, this is a fine discussion to be having, but there is no need to make a disparaging remark about lawyers, or vegans, or vegan lawyers! Let’s keep it respectful; I have already not posted a nasty remark by someone who was trying be supportive of the report, FYI.

      • Steve says:

        I apologize for the edgy remarks. As I mentioned earlier, I am not involved in the dairy industry, however I am still involved in agriculture. I guess I get a little upset when I see the continual bashing conventional agriculture gets, when those of us involved in it, feel like we are doing a conscientious job trying to produce safe healthy food for our fellow Americans. Unless I missed it, I read your entire report, and did not see a single positive comment about dairy. I did see over and over, that other plant based foods contain the same nutrients. Most people are well aware of that, we just enjoy things like ice cream and cheese in moderation once in a while. I’m sorry if I seem defensive, but we will have to agree to disagree that dairy products have a place in the American diet. And if the USDA assists dairy producers in promoting their products, to me that is the free enterprise system and I agree with it.
        Thank you for allowing my comments through, and I will try to be more PC next time.

        • Joel says:

          Steve, the best thing for you to do right now is read the introduction and glossary to Ms. Simon’s book. Powell’s bookstore, which has a review and a synopsis, is at http://bit.ly/1kYBD1h; your library may even have a copy. You can read the excellent intro, glossary and more for free at http://amzn.to/1hUyX5A — click on “Look Inside” on top of the book image. She’s done the research. These forums are necessary to arouse mid-information people, but at least on this issue, it is akin to flopping around in the dark, speculating and arguing. If you read her book and come back, I guarantee your remarks will be radically different.

  13. Sonii says:

    I am a raw milk consumer. I have seen multiple generations now of kids and grandkids raised on raw milk. I see healthy, bright, articulate children and grandchildren. I don’t buy processed commercial dairy but we enjoy making yogurt, kefir, butter, cheese, ice cream and buttermilk from our raw milk obtained from a grade A dairy. We grow and eat our own food from our farm. Lots of organic veggies, fruit, pastured eggs and grass fed beef, lamb and chicken. Real live food provides real nutrients for a healthy body. If you don’t want to eat it, then don’t. I would never eat commercial dairy but there is a big difference in raw vs. pasteurized processed dairy.

    • Marta says:

      Exactly. If you’re lucky enough to find raw dairy, it’s a great health food. If you’re stuck with what the law calls “dairy food”, you’re better off avoiding it. Pasteurized dairy made me physically ill and caused bone loss.

    • TDB says:

      Excellent comments.

  14. Beth Perera says:

    An excellent book to read on this subject is “Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow’s Milk and Your Health,” by Joseh Keon.

    We are not baby cows, and they are the only creatures who should be consuming cow’s milk. Period.

  15. Miss Foodie says:

    Sonii I believe you have the most common sense in this comment feed! Everyone criticizing this piece have completely missed the point! Adding sugar to processed milk isnt good for you. Adding refined sugar to anything isn’t good for you. And if you think ice cream, flavored milk etc. is good for you, well there’s no point even trying to reason with you.
    Governments constantly try to pull the wool over our eyes, this case is no different. Its up to the individual to use their common sense.

  16. [...] policy, USDA. | Michele on Google+ | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own [...]

  17. Tina Bambina says:

    North Americans are the largest consumers of dairy products in the world and also have the highest incidence of osteoporosis. The spin the dairy industry gives us is nothing more than a tall tale. Ditch the dairy and look for non-dairy alternatives. There’s now some really good products available that will fill your needs and your health will be better.

  18. Bruce says:

    The nice thing about nutrition is not only can one read the research (and decide on the conflicting claims), but one can also try it out.

    Due to health reasons I decided to cut out meat and soon after I cut out dairy. It only took a week before arthritis in my back disappeared. Most of my little aches and pains I attributed to being over half a century old also disappeared within a few weeks (i.e., not *normal* as I was led to believe – and the standard diagnosis for my arthritis was that it would probably get worse with age and to take pain medicine if needed. No medical person ever recommended diet changes).

    I don’t have more energy, as a lot of people report, instead my energy is high and rock solid with no ups or downs throughout the day (I would not have believed that was possible).

    So while I’ve read the China Study (and many of the rebuttals) and love to read the arguments pro/con such as here, I find the research (and my own experience) compelling that a whole grain, fruits and vegetables diet is much healthier than the “eat a variety of foods in moderation from all food groups — including meats and dairy” that I had been following.

    I tell people if they are interested, just try it for a few weeks. Its a straightforward way to sort out all the claims and educate ourselves.

    • vear says:

      Agreed. I tried it for a month because of health issues (breathing problems and kidney disease) and I’ve never looked back. I’ve never taken a pill that worked so fast and so well. Going from 0 to 100% in a few weeks… from suffocating to ZERO episodes, from grams of protein in the urine to trace amounts, to nothing! Try it and see for yourselves.

      • Bruce says:

        Yes, I too had a health concern (thyroid suspicious of cancer) that caused me to rethink a lot of assumptions about what I eat. It seems to take a personal crisis to get us out of our mental ruts.

        I like the story of Bill Clinton who got heart stents put in and then found out they would eventually clog up like his arteries did and hence need more heart surgery. Then he learned that by eating differently he could keep things from clogging up in the first place. We assume the rich, famous or powerful have access to the best information but that is clearly not the case.

        When on the rare occasion I don’t feel well, I first double up on veggies and fruits (my “medicine”) and see what that does for me. Its amazing how quickly problems go away, how fast the body recovers, when we feed it good food.

        I’ll still eat a little turkey on Thanksgiving and just had some cake and real ice cream at my daughter’s birthday party. However, except for these limited special occasions, I stick with whole grains/legumes, fruits and vegetables. It just works.

  19. Brenda Reishus says:

    I love milk. I prefer white. I love cheese and ice cream too. You can find bad in everything out there…from peppers to meat… thank goodness we all can make our own choices.

    • Derk says:

      Brenda, please go to Earthlings.com and watch for free. “If our actions are not affecting others, we generally consider them to be a personal choice. Once our actions affect others, that is no longer true. At that point, there is a victim, and other people are allowed to speak up for the victim. One is not allowed to say it is a personal choice and expect their opinion to be respected. A reason must be provided to justify one’s actions, and that reason must stand up to rational scrutiny.” -Charles Horn So Brenda, please take the time to watch Earthlings. There are too many good, healthy replacements for animal products to count. These products are devoid of the cruelty and not to mention CHOLESTEROL that animal products have. If you have questions and need resources go to adaptt.org There are recipes and other information about getting started should you choose to. Going Vegan isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s good for the animals, good for your health and good for the planet. There are no downsides. Take care :-)

  20. Lesley says:

    I don’t know why you are all arguing over this like a bunch of know it all teenagers. It is hard to say what “science” has proved since most of the scientists and studies are backed by corporations or groups with agendas. If you feel moved by this article, cut diary out, stop feeding it to your children and when people say something just tell them you find you feel better not consuming it, if the rest of the world want to drink and eat it then let them don’t tell them they are wrong, if diary is a culprit to as many diseases and illnesses as it is being claimed. Then let them suffer from them and when they look at you and notice you aren’t suffering like them and they ask why you can shrug and say “because I don’t consume diary”. I wish articles like this would be written in a way that empowers people not tells them something they’ve been doing for the past whatever years of their life is wrong. Inform the people so they can make their own decisions and if they chose for them and their family to suffer then so be it.

  21. tara chapman says:

    This article is so true but its not about the govt. Ppl with brains relize that cuting back is best and teaching our children to drink water instead is better than milk. Its simple its up to us parents to take the lead and stop blaming our govt. Its called being a parent. Take responsibility!

  22. Samuela says:

    Hilarious comments, some born entertainers out there. However, back to the article, once again stakeholders are motivated by money, and not by public health concerns, and the stakeholder in question in this case is the Government, democratically elected. So this is the crucial point to debate. Studies on the extensive damage that dairy products do to human health are of public domain, we trust the reader is sufficiently equipped to critically read the article. It must be said, however, that I am requires to provide references in my assignments on year 2 in college, so not seeing references in this article is, in fact, disappointing, and dilutes the message.
    Question for the readers: do you know how your body works? Do you know what your current diet does to your bodies? Have you ever considered what is in milk? What it is made of? I think these questions, to be answered privately in your own time, are worth pondering. Never before in human history has dairy played such a massive part in our feeding habits.
    Last but not least, and this is, I guess, my take home from the article: this issue is now turning into the typical witch-hunt, “I believe” “I believe not”, this is a distraction from the issue at hand. The article contains pointers and information, not directions on what to do. So, if you are intrigued, go investigate! It is worth doing, it’s your life!

  23. Kathi Kotelko says:

    Milk is the most dangerous food in our food supply. It is so acidic and causes more inflammation (the root cause of all disease) than any other food. Why in the world are we the only species on the planet that eats/drinks another species specific milk, and we continue to eat milk after we are weaned. Mother’s milk is for the first year of life of that baby calf to make it grow faster and bigger than any other year of it’s life. It’s also full of antibiotics and hormones and chemicals that no one wants. America has to smarten up~ Stop buying dairy! The animals live a terrible life to give you your cherished milk and cheese~

  24. [...] Source: http://www.eatdrinkpolitics.com/2014/06/11/whitewashed-how-industry-and-government-promote-dairy-jun… [...]

  25. michele says:

    I have not approved a few of the most recent comments because in my opinion, the discussion has become disrespectful and I don’t tolerate that on my blog.

  26. Lee Moore says:

    For years I was a low fat vegetarian and developed health problems because I wasn’t getting the all important fat-soluble vitamins. Fortunately, I stumbled onto http://www.westonaprice.org, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to spreading the research of nutrition pioneer, Weston A. Price. His studies of isolated non industrialized populations established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets.
    Essentially, it’s not nature’s food that is bad for us but what manufacturers DO to it that destroys our health.
    A project of the Foundation is a campaign for unprocessed REAL milk, produced by local farms sold only to local communities. It’s a win-win situation. Milk really is nature’s perfect food if the cows are raised on healthy pasture and the milk is not denatured by chemicals and pasteurization. Visit http://www.realmilk.com for more information.
    I’m 71 and have excellent health, need no Rx meds of any kind, not even OTC meds. I feel and look better now than I did in 2000′ at the end of my mistaken vegetarian journey.
    Nature provides nutrient dense foods.
    Manufacturers and big AG provide nutrient deficient and chemically dense products.
    Thus, we are all now in this health crisis boat floating toward the gates of big hospitals and big pharmaceuticals!

  27. [...] me that works well, (with food politics, I’m well aware some may take issue with a dairy/nutrition alliance) as I find it to be a wholesome fit to fuel both the series and the kids selected as everyday [...]

  28. [...] Michele Simon sheds light on How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods. [...]

  29. [...] new report from food lawyer Michele Simon calls out the dairy industry for advertising and lobbying that has [...]

  30. [...] Football League.  It promotes chocolate milk consumption to children and as registered dietitian Andy Bellatti put it, “Fuel Up to Play 60 is a marketing campaign hiding behind a veneer of nutrition [...]

  31. Stephanie says:

    Statistically, most Americans are lactose intollerant. Those of us who are not, are considered to have a mutated gene. I personally appreciate the fact that I can consume dairy products, as I am a big fan, but that doesn’t change the facts.

  32. [...] with the many other dubious health claims Michele Simon documented in her report “Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods.” As she wrote, “While [...]

  33. Margaret says:

    And even of the milk that is not adulterated with sugar, it’s the dairy farm factories that contribute to the hormone laden quality of dairy cow produced milk. I can’t even think about the cruelty thrust on these dairy cows… drink calcium fortified, low sugar ‘non dairy milks” and orange juice–leafy greens and broccoli will also provide plenty of calcium which is carefully conserved by your body in your bones!

  34. [...] note – if you think dairy is the best source of calcium, think again. Marketing is a powerful [...]

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