When "Doctors" have agendas, even milk is racist.
by Wayne Lutz

October 30, 2002

"USDA School-Lunch Policies Discriminate Against Minorities, Say Doctors," is a headline that would stop anyone in their tracks. So many hot-button words packed into such a small package. School. We are all concerned with this particular triumph of socialism, the public indoctrina... um, school. School-Lunch. We want The Children to be fed, and spare no expense! Discriminate. What? Discriminate? Against minorities? Never! This must be stopped! And doctors. Why, if doctors say it, it must be true!

The media dutifully regurgitate that which they are spoon-fed, in this case a stunning news release (no information as to whether this news-feed was organic or free-range), from Doctors, asserting that the mandatory inclusion of milk in the School Lunch Program, a requirement for the USDA funding upon which many schools depend, is, not merely wrong-headed, but discriminatory:

"Federal regulations that mandate cow's milk in school lunches but disallow other calcium-rich beverages are archaic and discriminate against minorities," is the dark news.

Nothing like loaded language to make a point that can't be made with logic.

The "doctors" behind this particular news release are the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and they've filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture challenging the policy that requires schools to serve milk and prohibits them from making substitutions for that milk.

The PCRM charges that the mandate for cow's milk, not to mention the inclusion of dead animals as entrees, is an outgrowth of sinister "links" between members of the USDA's dietary advisory committees and the meat, dairy and egg industries. The result of this unholy alliance is that The Children, and especially The minority Children, are being forced, against their will, to drink milk.

"The cultural insensitivity, cost, and inconvenience of this policy frustrate many parents who depend on school lunches for their children," warns the PCRM. Yes, I've often heard frustrated parents fuming with indignation over the "cultural insensitivity" of forcing their children to consume whole foods. Haven't you?

"Additionally," says PCRM, "many children prefer soymilk, juice, or other dairy alternatives because of taste or ethical reasons." Of course! Many children prefer soymilk because of the taste. One sees it all the time; forlorn second-graders moping over their Nestle's Quick, dreaming of the Land of Soymilk and Sprouts. It's tragic. And we all know that second-graders have deeply held ethical convictions.

Given the overwhelming medical evidence milk is a near wonder food and the commonly held knowledge that the abundance of milk (and other foods) in this great land of ours is a blessing and a boon, it would be easy to dismiss items like this news piece as the rantings of fringe kooks. Easy, that is, if not for the source. Doctors reported this, after all. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine describes itself as "a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition." The media who report on the efforts of the PCRM certainly take what they say at face-value. Why shouldn't we?

I talked to Mike Burita, Communications Director for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group that has been following the activities of the PCRM for some time, and learned that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, while it may be a "committee," is sorely lacking in physicians and is hardly "responsible." Instead, the PCRM is a well-funded group of "fanatics" fronting for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

"Only 5 percent of its membership is made up of physicians," says Burita. "PCRM has also been censured by the American Medical Association who has said it 'continues to marvel at how effectively a fringe organization of questionable repute continues to hoodwink the media with a series of questionable research that fails to enhance public health.'"

In this case at least, that questionable research, pushed on the USDA and supported by a willing media, stands to do some real harm. Says Burita, "The desire of the PCRM to replace meat and cheese with vegan fare in schools may appear to be done in the name of healthy diet, but in reality it is part of their game plan as a front organization for PETA and the animal rights movement. PCRM has received well over $1 million in funding from animal rights zealots to spread misinformation to consumers and children about the 'dangerous effects' of milk and meat and the 'wonderful benefits' of vegetarianism."

Unable to make a rational case against animal foods to a public that, face it, likes its milk and cheese, and wants its children to have milk and cheese, the PCRM engages dishonest tactics - co-opting the language of morality.

"The PCRM doesn't have sound science behind their claims, so they have to resort to these tactics," says Burita. "Unfortunately, they often go unchallenged and are credited in the media and the public as a legitimate medical organization, much to the disservice of consumers and their children who rely on the media for thorough reporting.

"The PCRM has had a difficult time convincing the mainstream public that milk is a bad product because it flies in the face of almost every medical and nutritional findings on the benefits of milk. Using this 'discrimination against minorities' argument is another pathetic play on behalf of PCRM to try and coerce the government into mandating something that they can't with science."

And the losers in that pathetic play are the kids, at least insomuch as the PCRM is able to fool the public into accepting its outrageous claims. As for those children, minority or otherwise, who really do have a medical problem with milk, or whose parents really do have an "ethical" problem with milk, well, there is always that old stand-by - Personal Responsibility:

"It is the responsibility of parents to seek the right diet for their children," says Burita. "When they do, they should consult with sound, respected doctors whose sole interest is the health and well being of the child. They should not take advice from a pseudo-medical organization with an agenda."

Sounds like just what the doctor ordered to me.

For more information on radical efforts to deny you personal choice, read

©2002 The Tocquevillian Magazine