OK, I have to admit, I was beginning to think Dr. McDougall was being a bit hard on the dairy farmers. I questioned whether the dairy industry have as much political "connections" as he claimed in the newsletter. I thought I'd look for myself and dowloaded the 2005 Annual report by the Dairy Management Council that he references in his article.
As a father of two children, I was shocked, not to mention, sickened, with what I read. What Dr. McDougall doesn't mention in his March article is that of their $205 million dollar budget, $19.8 million is spent on "school marketing", including nutritional programs for 2nd and 4th graders aimed to "educate students about healthy choices, including consuming dairy products". According to the annual report -- again, these are the words of the Dairy Council themselves -- "improving the school milk experience for the nation's 56 million school children is the top priority of the dairy checkoff's childhood nutrition initiative". I get a queazy feeling in my stomach thinking that my children may be learning nutritional lessons in the classroom that originate from the Dairy Council.
And next time I question their political power, I'll think of this statement, again directly from the annual report, "The increase to a solid three servings of dairy a day in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the food guidance system, MyPryamid, would not have been possible without producers' investment in the development of sound nutrition science. National Dairy Council, the nutrition research and education arm of the dairy checkoff, shared producer-funded research with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee as the guidelines were being developed, which helped enhance and protect dairy's position in the government's recommendatons. Today, health professionals and government feeding programs recommend three servings of diary a day based on these federal guidelines."
Hope this helps,