Dairy Industry Asks for Change to World Health Guidelines on Milk for Toddlers

US - The US dairy industry today urged the White House to challenge a World Health Organisation (WHO) proposal that would discourage the consumption of dairy products by young children.
calendar icon 11 May 2016
clock icon 2 minute read

The National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association and the US Dairy Export Council said the advice contradicts the recommendations of respected national and global health organisations that endorse milk for its nutritional value, in a letter to the Obama Administration.

At issue is a WHO guidance document that will be presented to the World Health Assembly (WHA) later this month, despite repeated requests from dairy organisations to fix significant problems with the proposal. The three dairy organisations urged the US government to seek further scientific review of, and changes to, the WHO guidance and how it may be used in the future.

“Discouraging parents from providing milk, one of the most nutritious foods in the human diet, to their children flies in the face of common sense,” the letter said.

“Increased milk and dairy product consumption in recent years has helped improve nutritional outcomes for hundreds of millions of children around the world. This very positive trend should be further encouraged, not thwarted by ill-advised guidance from WHO.”

Earlier this year, the WHO released the draft guidance document that contradicts existing US and international nutritional policy. It would dictate sweeping new restrictions, directly discouraging consumption of milk, as well as other new limits on various foods including dairy products, by children up to age three.

“Milk is the original nutritional superfood, yet the WHO is committed to a position that would discourage the consumption of milk and milk products,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

“We appreciate the Administration’s recognition that it cannot support an international guideline that undermines the critical role dairy foods play in early childhood health and development.”

“The WHO’s draft guidance is not consistent with available scientific data, including the research used for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – or even with WHO’s own nutritional guidance,” said Connie Tipton, IDFA’s president and CEO.

“Given its unwavering commitment to the health of our children, we encourage the Administration to take the necessary steps to press the WHO to reconsider this deeply flawed guideline.”

“This issue affects not only the health of American toddlers, but hundreds of millions of young children around the world,” said Tom Suber, president of USDEC.

“Our exporters have worked with countless local processors to help kids get a better start in life through higher rates of dairy consumption. The US government has to ensure the WHO doesn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater by discouraging the benefits of dairy consumption through misdirected advice on good nutrition for children.”

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