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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE December 28, 2000

Elton John and MTV's Carson Daly Hit Sour Note in New Milk Ads, Say Doctors

Health Group Calls on FTC and USDA to Investigate False Health Claims

WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is calling on the U.S. government to investigate false health claims found in the new Elton John and Carson Daly milk-mustache ads. PCRM will file an amendment tomorrow to a complaint currently under investigation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That complaint charges that many of the ads in the celebrity milk-mustache campaign violate Food and Drug Administration regulations for misleading advertising.

"The Elton John ad claims that milk prevents osteoporosis, when research clearly demonstrates more bone breaks among milk-drinkers," says PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, M.D. "And with all the fat in milk, Elton John would do better to sing, 'Don't go clogging my heart.' Studies prove dairy consumption is linked to heart disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems."

Dr. Barnard adds, "The Carson Daly ad is even more egregious, implying that children need milk to reach their full height potential. While calcium is one of many necessary nutrients for bone development, milk is completely unnecessary for proper development."

The Elton John and Carson Daly ads are the latest additions to a ubiquitous campaign that PCRM has criticized for making unauthorized health claims under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act.

PCRM submitted a 70-page petition to the FTC last July requesting an immediate investigation into 30 some ads, including ones featuring Jackie Chan, Marc Anthony, Britney Spears, and the Dixie Chicks. The FTC referred the complaint to the USDA earlier this year.

In the petition, PCRM attorney Mindy Kursban argued that not only do many of the ads disseminate scientifically unsubstantiated claims, but they fail to disclose even one of the many health problems associated with dairy consumption.

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

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