Docs Warn Mayor: Don't Get Milked by the Dairy Industry
Williams Asked to Dump Milk-Mustache Ad and Drink Chocolate Milk Day
WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is calling on D.C. Mayor Tony Williams to consider his constituents' best interests and not promote milk, a product that makes so many of them sick. Last Thursday's Washington Post reported that Williams is considering posing for a milk-mustache ad when he proclaims May 11 "Drink Chocolate Milk Day" and the dairy industry brings its Chocolate Milk Mustache Mobile Tour to the National Zoo.
"Given that 16 studies now link milk consumption to prostate cancer, and that African Americans have the highest rates of it in the world, it's outrageous that D.C.'s mayor might push dairy products," says PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, M.D. (D.C.'s population is 60 percent African American.) "Like most people, Mayor Williams is probably unaware that milk is not the health food the industry claims it is. But it's time he learned the truth."
"Besides prostate cancer, milk has been linked to asthma, anemia, allergies, juvenile-onset diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and ovarian and breast cancer," says PCRM nutrition director Amy Lanou, Ph.D. "What's more, a great many adults and older children, particularly people of color, are lactose intolerant, so promoting milk is adding insult to injury."
Dr. Lanou sent a letter to Mayor Williams' office on Friday requesting an immediate meeting to be sure he understands milk's links to prostate cancer and other diseases. PCRM also sent a letter to the zoo today, asking it to withdraw its participation in the Milk Tour. "We want them both to ‘just say no' to the dairy lobby," says Dr. Lanou.
PCRM led an effort in 1999, which included a successful lawsuit, to make dairy products optional in the federal food guidelines. The campaign was supported by a number of prominent minority organizations and leaders including the Congressional Black Caucus; the NAACP; Martin Luther King, III; Jesse Jackson, Jr.; the National Hispanic Medical Association; and former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, M.D. PCRM also filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission last year charging the milk-mustache campaign with deceptive health claims; that petition is currently under investigation.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.