Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dairy Industry Lies to Fatten Profits (and Children)

"Bubbles" by John Isaac, 2003 (photographed by Grahamc99)
A report by the Associated Press last week said that a number of professional and medical groups, including the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), had issued a “joint statement” favoring flavored milk in the schools. Their statement supposedly asserted that “the nutritional value of flavored low-fat or skim milk outweighs the harm of the added sugar.” (See OB Rag)

In reality, no such “joint statement” was ever made. The AP was scammed by dairy industry propaganda designed to keep chocolate milk in the schools. In fact, many medical groups have come out against the practice of feeding kids sugared milk drinks precisely because the added sugar contributes to obesity and tooth decay. AHA and AAP both denied signing the joint statement.

Two of the organizations cited in the AP story (the School Nutrition Association and the American Dietetic Association) have financial links to the dairy industry and have been key players in the effort to keep chocolate milk in the schools. The School Nutrition Association includes dues-paying members from the dairy lobby, including The National Dairy Council and the Milk Processors Education Program, according to the OB Rag story.

The School Nutrition Association worked with the dairy lobby to promote a biased “study” that supposedly showed that kids would not drink milk if it wasn’t flavored. This tactic is highly reminiscent of attempts by the Tobacco industry to sow doubt about the dangers of cigarettes by co-opting scientists and producing their own “scientific” studies to counter the legitimate ones linking smoking to cancer and heart disease. Petroleum and coal companies have done the same to sow doubt about climate change. (See Merchants of Doubt, numerous articles by Robert Procter, The Republican War on Science, among other sources).

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