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PCRM Goes Public for Milk Plaintiffs

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ATLANTA The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has launched an ad campaign on the public transit system in Washington, D.C., to find plaintiffs for a class action lawsuit against the milk industry.

The 292 ads are being placed in train stations and cars and on city buses throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system. The ads were produced internally by PCRM, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. The group is spending about $15,000 to run the ads on the transit system for the next month.

"Our attorney already is getting a lot of calls," said Jeanne McVey, a spokesperson for the organization.

The goal of the ad campaign is to find enough people who are lactose intolerant to file the lawsuit in an effort to force the milk industry to put warning labels on its products. The campaign also is alerting people to the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

The ads spoof the popular "Got milk?" campaign by showing people with white mustaches fighting to get into a restroom, an allusion to the effects of drinking milk on people who cannot digest the drink.

The organization cites research indicating that 75 percent of people worldwide are lactose intolerant. The rate among African Americans, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans is even higher.

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

If the Washington campaign generates significant results, the organization plans to expand it to other cities, McVey said.