Doctors to Present Case Against Dairy to Mayor at Wed. News Conference
Ads Criticizing Mayor's Involvement with Dairy Industry to Debut in Local Papers
WASHINGTON—A group of local doctors will protest D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams' involvement in a controversial dairy industry promotion at a news conference on Wednesday. Members of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) object to the mayor's decision to pose in a "milk-mustache" ad and to declare May 11 "Drink Chocolate Milk Day" given that 16 studies have linked dairy consumption to prostate cancer, and many other health problems are also associated with dairy products.
The physicians, who specialize in nutrition, will present their "Case Against Dairy" to the mayor, along with a case of healthy dairy alternatives. They will also unveil an ad campaign critical of the mayor that will debut in local papers this week as well as several counter milk-mustache ads. The news conference will be held outside the mayor's office at One Judiciary Square, N.W., on 4thSt. between Indiana Ave. and E St., at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 2.
"What kind of mayor does a milk-mustache ad given the growing awareness that milk increases the risk of prostate and ovarian cancer, heart disease, juvenile-onset diabetes, asthma, and a host of other diseases?" asks PCRM president and nutrition researcher Neal D. Barnard, M.D. Moreover, chocolate milk has more fat and calories than typical sodas (and just as much sugar), and is among the foods implicated in the obesity epidemic.
"Even if the mayor is unfamiliar with the latest research studies on dairy's risks, surely he must realize that the majority of African and Hispanic Americans are lactose-intolerant," says PCRM nutrition director Amy Lanou, Ph.D. "For these people, ‘Got Milk?' really means ‘Got Diarrhea?' It makes no sense for the mayor to promote a product that makes so many of his constituents sick."
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 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.
PCRM members Deborah Bernal, M.D., and Milton Mills, M.D.; are scheduled to join PCRM staff, along with Samuel L. DeShay, M.D., M.P.H., at the news conference.
The mayor has not revealed whether he will keep or decline the $25,000 model fee usually paid by the dairy industry to celebrities, such as Britney Spears, for promoting milk.
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.