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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE June 16, 2005

Spoof of Milk Mustache Ad Reaches Out to People with Lactose Intolerance

Nonprofit Will Provide Pro-Bono Legal Help to D.C. Consumers Sickened by Dairy Products

WASHINGTON—The nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is launching a new ad campaign to draw attention to the problem of lactose intolerance, especially among people of color, and to offer legal assistance to those who may have been sickened by dairy products. Scheduled to debut in mid-June on Metrorail platforms and inside trains and buses, the ad reads, “Got Lactose Intolerance? 75 percent of people do, particularly people of color. If you’re lactose intolerant, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.” PCRM is also launching a new website——to support the ad campaign.

“About 75 percent of people worldwide are lactose intolerant, which means they naturally lose the ability to digest the milk sugar lactose after infancy. This is a normal shift in enzyme activity that comes as the person matures,” says Tim Radak, R.D., Dr. P.H., nutrition director for PCRM. “The abdominal pain and other, often severe, digestive disturbances that can occur when a lactose intolerant person drinks milk, are the body’s way of warning that milk is not an appropriate or desirable food for adults.”

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 60-80 percent of African Americans, 50-80 percent of Latinos, and at least 90 percent of Asians and Native Americans are lactose intolerant and may suffer stomach cramps, diarrhea, and other painful or distressing gastrointestinal symptoms. Lactose intolerance occurs in 6-22 percent of people of northern European descent.

“Given the high rates of lactose intolerance, especially among people of color, it is clear that dairy products should carry warning labels,” says Dan Kinburn, associate general counsel for PCRM. “Dairy manufacturers are well aware that many consumers are sickened by these products.”

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.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

Related Links:
Got Lactose Intolerance ad (PDF)

Racial Bias in Federal Nutrition Policy (PDF)

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