A group called the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has quite a bone to pick—with milk. The nonprofit group blanketed us with releases this morning to say it was launching a campaign that spoofs the “Got milk?” campaign. Using the line “Got lactose intolerance?” with a picture of people with milk moustaches huddled around a restroom door, it will run in the Washington, D.C., area. (There is also a Web site, www.milkmakesmesick.org.) But news of the “Got milk?” ad is only the half ‘n’ half of it. A perusal of the PCRM’s news release shows the group’s real aspiration is to turn the dairy industry into the next Big Tobacco. Citing a statistic that 75 percent of people globally are lactose intolerant—an affliction particularly affecting people of color—the group offers “legal assistance to those who may have been sickened by dairy products” and wants warning labels on them. “Dairy manufacturers are well aware that many consumers are sickened by these products,” says Dan Kinburn, associate general counsel for PCRM. What’s next? A congressional hearing in which dairy manufacturers swear under oath that milk is good for you? Though I’ve no doubt that dairy products are unsuitable for some people, the over-the-top positioning of this effort borders on irresponsible. Let’s put it this way: As a woman from an ethnic group prone to osteoporosis, I think my doctor would advise me to stick with my morning latte.
—Posted by Catharine P. Taylor