Wisconsin Milk Board claims come under fire

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The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board came under fire this week when the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism published two stories alleging that the board overstates the health benefits of milk.

In the first article released on Sunday, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism takes issue with the fact that the milk board promotes chocolate milk as a sports recovery beverage for children and teenagers, complaining that related studies have focused on adult athletes. The group has also taken issue with the number of servings of milk recommended to children.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board is defending its message. Patrick Geoghegan, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board senior vice president of corporate communications, says, “Dairy’s role in a healthy diet for all Americans has long been established by the science and nutrition community. All the dietary guidance provided to students and consumers by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board... is based on sound, often peer-reviewed research that’s continually updated.”

In a second article the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism takes issue with the weight-loss claims associated with milk. The group states that under Wisconsin law, the weight loss claim is deceptive. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism notes that three times on the Milk Marketing Board’s consumer web site it says dairy products can help people lose weight, and at least twice that the foods can aid weight management.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has since adjusted the messaging on its Web site. “Over the past few weeks, we have reviewed some of the nutrition messages and have made some changes to closer align our weight control message with the healthy diet message,” Geoghegan says.

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Florida  |  October, 21, 2011 at 09:00 AM

Who is the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism? Who funds them? Who are their members? What other groups have they criticized and for what reasons? Is this just another phony front group of anti-agriculture, vegetarian zealots with a goal of discrediting milk and its proven value as a valuable part of a balanced diet?

Andy Hall    
Madison, Wis.  |  October, 21, 2011 at 08:39 PM

Hi Gene, thanks for the questions. The Center is an award-winning nonprofit and nonpartisan news organization. Its stories are produced by a small professional staff and paid student interns at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where it is housed. The Center collaborates with public TV and radio, journalism classes and news organizations across the nation to cover government integrity and quality of life issues. As a matter of policy, all of its funders are disclosed to protect the integrity of its journalism. Please feel free to read our stories, learn about our staff and check out a full list of our three dozen supporters at http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/ Andy Hall, founder and executive director

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