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Is The Dairy Industry the New McDonalds?

Who would you trust? The organisations that are protecting a dairy industry that is worth $70-billion a year in the USA alone? or health and nutrition experts and vegan charities who are trying to create a world where their free, healthy, ethical advice is no longer needed and they are out of a job?

July 03, 2005 - David and Goliath

Author of Vegan by Hamlyn, Tony Bishop-Weston says "Even in 2004, their landmark Diamond Jubilee year (60 years since the word vegan was invented by their founder Donald Watson), The Vegan Society spent only two thousand pounds ( 2,291) on advertising"

By comparison The National Dairy Council, has spent $200 million (forty thousand times as much) promoting the idea that milk can help you lose weight since 2003.They have given Michael B. Zemel, a professor of nutrition and medicine at the University of Tennessee nearly $1.7 million in research grants since 1998 to find statistics that can justify their campaign.

In the UK, the Milk Development Council (MDC) is hoping to stop a 30-year decline in UK milk consumption it says "The industry's total spend on advertising is already 46 million - almost double that for Coca-Cola in the UK (and twenty thousand times as much as The Vegan Society)"

The Washington, DC-based organization, International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) are representatives and lobbyists for the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), National Cheese Institute (NCI) and International Ice Cream association (IICA). Its 500+ members range from large multinational corporations to single-plant operations, and represent more than 85% of the total volume of milk, cultured products, cheese, and ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States - they say the industry is worth $70-billion a year in the USA.

Milk Aid

In addition to enormous sums spent on marketing The United States stands accused of being the highest provider of domestic support by other members of the World Trade Organisation. Subsidies for US dairy farmers are estimated to be nearly $15 billion or equivalent to over 40% of production costs.

Whilst cows in Europe can earn over 300 a year each in subsidies a large dairy producer such as Arla can rake in 10 million just in export subsidies

Contrast these vast sums with the paltry US $2 million spent on promoting the '5 a Day' eat more fruit and veg campaign encouraged by The World Health Organisation to curb the rise in preventable diseases.

Turning the tide?

It's understandable why the dairy industry is running scared and throwing money at us. The notion that it's perfectly natural to be the only species that drinks milk in adulthood is being eroded. Is it natural to be squeamish about human breast milk but be hooked on the nutrients best suited to help a calf grow to the size of a small shed in a matter of months? Hands up everyone with horns, hooves and four legs - go to the front of the milkshake queue!

Following successful lawsuits against McDonalds US lawyers can now smell new victims of hyperbole. Catherine Holmes of Arlington filed a lawsuit against the dairy industry saying, "I was thinking that I wasn't seeing the fat melting off like all those skinny little girls in the ads. They need to pull these ads and quit misleading people." She put on weight following her dairy diet.

A string of articles in the world's press has exposed links with cow's milk and food intolerance, heart disease, Alzheimer's, breast cancer, Crohn's disease, obesity, osteoporosis, BSE, food poisoning, asthma, eczema, excess mucus, digestive problems, infertility, stroke, diabetes, world water shortage, environmental pollution and needless animal cruelty.

Better than Booze

There is evidence to show that drinking milk may be better than excessive alcohol consumption (Bristol Study UK) Milk may also be better than drinking soda and fizzy drinks such as cola and sugary fruit flavoured drinks. But there is evidence to suggest that even low fat dairy products have more nutritious healthy alternatives.

Alternatives

Soymilk has been Europe's fastest growing dairy sector over the last six years. The value of Western Europe's soymilk market has more than doubled to 375m (249.5m) between 1998 and 2004. Research group Euromonitor says this is due mainly to consumer obsessions with health and wellness. Oat milk, rice milk, pea milk, nut milk, quinoa milk and even hemp milk products are all eating into a healthy demand for dairy.

Low fat - full of Sugar

London nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston recently surveyed low fat yoghurts on sale in the UK and found they contained up to six teaspoons of sugar per pot. "I have found most weight management success through using foods with a low GL (Glycaemic load) and sugar is not useful at all. Calcium is beneficial for health but there are better, more synergistic, more nutrient rich sources than cow's milk"

Gone Fishing?

In an effort to stop the drop in sales in milk scientists have been working hard to genetically engineer cows to make milk that is better suited to humans. Whilst Iranian farmers are feeding their cow's urine, Canadian dairy farmers have even been feeding their dairy herds with fish to try and improve the ratio of saturated fat to polyunsaturated omega 3 fats in the milk. Ever seen a cow go deep-sea fishing?

No need for milk

"You can get the nutrients in milk from other foods" says Patrick Holford, founder of the UK Institute for Optimum Nutrition

The Sunday Times ran an article exposing the Dairy Industry saying "Next time you hear a dietary expert saying milk and dairy are essential parts of a well-balanced diet be advised you are in the presence of a nincompoop"

Osteoporosis

"I'm also keen to point out that the notion that drinking lots of dairy-derived milk is good for their bones looks like one sacred cow worth putting to rest." says Dr John Briffa.

Anaemia

Frank Oski, former paediatrics director at Johns Hopkins school of medicine, estimates that half of all iron deficiency in US infants results from cows' milk-induced intestinal bleeding - a staggering amount, since more than 15% of American under-twos suffer from iron-deficiency anaemia. The infants, it seems, drink so much milk (which is very low in iron) that they have little appetite left for foods containing iron; at the same time, the milk, by inducing gastrointestinal bleeding, causes iron loss. Investigators at Johns Hopkins found that 15% of all the white people and almost three-quarters of all the black people they tested were unable to digest lactose.

Cancer

T Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, said that "cows' milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed".

Crohn's Disease

Research has shown that three out of every hundred pints of milk could have the Crohn's disease implicated Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). Professor John Hermon-Taylor, a UK microbiologist and surgeon, was the first to discover MAP in milk.

He says "What I can say now categorically, from both our own work and work from the United States, and China, and Germany, and Australia, and so on, is that MAP is present in humans and it's present in humans with Crohn's disease, and it's probably causing about 90% of Crohn's disease."

Editors Notes

USA The National Dairy Council -
http://www.idfa.org

UK Milk Development Council - http://www.mdc.org.uk

USA 3 a Day campaign - http://www.got-milk.com

K 3 a Day Campaign - http://www.milk.co.uk

MAP and Crohn's Disease http://www.paratuberculosis.org

The Vegan Society - http://www.vegansociety.com

Vegan by Hamlyn - http://www.vegan-cookbook.com

Vegan Websites - http://www.for-vegans.co.uk

Milk Sucks Campaign - http://www.milksucks.com

The Real Food Pyramid - http://www.vegsource.com/articles/milk_pyramid.htm

No Milk - http://www.panix.com/~nomilk

Foods For Life Nutrition News - http://www.news.foodsforlife.org

About Foods For Life (Nutritionists)
Foods For Life consultancy is committed to integrated and synergistic solutions for health and the environment through better nutrition.