Vegan Group sues US Department of Agriculture over dairy promotion – Reason.com


A trial filed in federal court last week by the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and a trio of doctors affiliated with the group say that the policies of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging Americans to double the average consumption of dairy products have everything to do with protect and promote dairy farmers and little or nothing to do with nutrition.

Lawsuit, filed against USDA, largely focuses on 2020 federal dietary guidelines who recommend that Americans consume three servings of dairy products each day. These latest dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years, were adopted by heads of the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and were based on the work of an appointed advisory committee. on dietary guidelines. Although the dietary guidelines do not impose any dietary requirements on Americans, they do help determine what food the government serves inmates, military personnel, school children and others.

The suit demand in court to order the USDA to stop promoting dairy products, to stop “equating ‘protein’ with meat” and to stop “hiding” what the plaintiffs claim are “the ill effects of consumption of meat and dairy products ”. (What are the “ill effects” of dairy products? Complainants argue that the USDA should not promote dairy products in large part because about 1 in 4 Americans are lactose intolerant. The lawsuit claims that most Asians , African Americans, Ashkenazi Jews, Native Americans and Latinos are lactose intolerant, which is supported by independent data.)

While I eat meat every day and consume dairy products most of the time – and strongly disagree with PCRM about the overall safety of these foods – I welcome the lawsuit. Indeed, I have long argued against the stupid and unnecessary promotion of USDA dairy products. Ddespite spending billions of dollars in subsidies, the USDA has not helped struggling dairy farmers thrive. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Decades of central planning have hurt American dairy farmers. US consumption of cow’s milk is plummeting and dairy farmers across the country are going bankrupt.

There is one word for money spent that does not meet its purpose: waste. If successful, the PCRM trial could help eliminate some of this waste.

The problem does not go away on its own. The absurd USDA dairy policies are highly unlikely to change under President Joe Biden. Current USDA Secretary Tom vilsack shamelessly promoted big dairy interests for eight years as USDA secretary to Barack Obama, then went on to become chief of the country’s largest dairy promoter, and is now back as head of USDA.

While it’s easy enough to blame the USDA for its practices, the real problem lies with Congress, which hands the agency billions and billions of dollars to throw at American farmers. That said, the USDA regularly goes beyond its congressional mandate to promote the dairy industry. (For example, paying Domino’s to develop a more cheesy pizza.)

Like many Americans, I consume a certain amount of dairy products almost every day. Some people, especially vegans and people with allergies to dairy products, avoid them at all costs. Neither of the two dietary approaches is right for everyone. And the choice to consume dairy products (or any other food) should be left to the individual.

That is why the USDA must neither promote nor restrict my food choices, your food choices, the dairy industry as a whole, or the food preferences of PCRM and its members.

About Thomas B. Countryman

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