Friday, June 24, 2005

Lactose Intolerants Revolt?

This morning, I saw an ad on my city bus that said: "Got Lactose Intollerance? Take Legal Action," with the catchy URL.

To which I thought: Oh great, just as I try to convince people that most litigation isn't frivolous, another lawsuit by attorneys seeking to make bank.

But then I looked at the sponsoring organization, Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, and their press release, and now I just can't decide.


Three thoughts:

1) The facts presented by PCRM are completely true and it is a well-documented fact that the dairy lobby uses sham science to counter these statistics.

2) Still, the idea of individual lawsuits for "dairy abuse" are stupid. The chances of them succeeding are silly. For one, just adding a warning label to milk is NOT going to significantly change lactose intake--just like mandatory genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling is a bad idea. See THE LABELING OF GMO PRODUCTS PURSUANT TO INTERNATIONAL TRADE RULES published in the New York New York University Enviornmental Law Journal ( and Mandatory Labeling Is A Bad Idea by (

3) The real potential for litigation is in the school systems. Milk is provided as one of the main sources of vitamins (and is the cornerstone of the "healthy lunch" image) as part of the federally subsidized breakfast/lunch program. Given that most kids on the program are minorities, and that most minorities are lactose intolerant, it is a moral crime to NOT offer a milk substitute (like vitamin enriched soy milk--which has all the benefits of milk, plus is usually organic, plus has a lesser effect on the environment) to kids.

In addition to the schools, there are also flaws in the WIC ( program run by the state of MD. The majority of women and children participating in the WIC program are members of minority groups and again dairy products are included in the program where dairy alternatives are not.

I have such astoundingly thoughtful and considerate friends, don't you think. I think both of you brought to my attention something I hadn't truly grasped before. Leave it to the lactose intolerants to point out the real intolerants and educate us in the process!

So why have the schools and WIC failed at righting this wrong? Shall we sue?
I learned about the WIC problem first from Jessica when she participated in the plan (trying to raise SJW as a veggie), and then from NPR stories regarding what some WIC programs were doing wrong and how they were trying to inovate.

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