Chinese baby drinking milk.
May 9, 2016

White House Urged to Take Action on WHO Proposal Limiting Milk to Children 

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

Leaders of three prominent U.S. dairy organizations wrote to President Obama today, urging him to take action on a World Health Organization (WHO) proposal that urges parents not to give milk to children under the age of three.

The proposal to be made this month to the World Health Assembly, would discourage dairy consumption by young children both here in the United States and around the world, despite reams of scientific data showing its benefit.

“Discouraging parents from providing their young children with milk, one of the most nutritious foods in the human diet, flies in the face of common sense. Yet that is exactly what this WHO document proposes to do,” write the National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association and the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

“As currently worded, the proposal suggests that common images such as a toddler enjoying strawberry yogurt, a one year old eating cubes of cheese or a two year old drinking a glass of milk are somehow inappropriate and should be prohibited. This is despite the fact that dairy is a nutritional mainstay in children’s diets: among toddlers aged 12 to 24 months, dairy products provide 27% of their total energy intake, 68% of calcium intake, 80% of vitamin D intake, 40% of potassium intake, and 40% of protein intake.

“It is frankly difficult to envision how millions of toddlers – here in the U.S. and around the world – would benefit from public health guidance that effectively places a gag-order on companies’ ability to encourage consumption of these types of healthy products.”

The letter is signed by Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF, Connie Tipton, President and CEO of IDFA, and Tom Suber, President of U.S.D.E.C. It was sent to the Departments of Agriculture, State and Commerce, the U.S. Trade Representative, leaders of the Senate and House, and leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties.