Health food enthusiasts and vegans the world over should rejoice in the majesty that has befallen. By the world we mean the World Health Organization (WHO) and by majesty we mean a guidance document urging the prohibition of the promotion and marketing of various milk products for children up to age three.
The document sent the dairy industry scrambling, some might even say running, like the moist asses of its lactose-intolerant consumers, but is there an argument to be had?
At the beginning of the year, the WHO issued “Ending Inappropriate Marketing of Foods for Infants and Young Children,” in an attempt to urge industry officials to check themselves before they subsequently wreck themselves (and households across the globe).
But, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) urged members of Congress earlier last week to request a more thorough analysis of the WHO proposal.
“The WHO guidance document is a de facto criticism of all milk consumption by toddlers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “This flies in the face of all credible, international nutrition research, and would confuse consumers across the globe.”
“The WHO guidance should be focusing on how to encourage the serving of nutrient-dense foods to provide young children and toddlers with a nutritious basis for meals and snacks,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. “It should not restrict the flow of important information regarding the nutritional benefits of dairy foods for young children to parents, caregivers and healthcare providers.”
In a letter sent to members of the House and Senate, both organizations want the U.S. government to insist that the WHO revise this document to rectify the misleading suggestion that dairy is inappropriate for young children.
“A much more thorough analysis of the scientific basis for and potential consequences of this proposal before the WHO pushes forward with further action in this area,” asked the groups in the open letter. “Until that type of careful scrutiny and revision takes place, we urge the U.S. to insist on the importance of placing this proposal on hold.”
According to the groups, and other reporting on the matter, the WHO’s proposal counters “ample” scientific evidence that dairy plays a “significant” and “positive” role in children’s diets, as seen in the recently updated “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” and the inclusion of dairy foods in programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
“This is of great concern to the U.S. dairy industry because the policies proposed contradict decades of federal nutrition policy, which recognizes dairy foods as safe, nutrient-rich foods to be encouraged for growing children under three years of age,” the letter argued.
In a counter point, it’s worth noting that most nutritionists and doctors agree that any chemical or nutrient that ends with the phrase “ose” (sucrose, lactose, glucose, etc.) reacts within the human body in very similar ways as straight sugar, and most doctors agree that limiting the intake of sugar, and things like it, is a worthwhile cause.