IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation this week continued to object to a public service advertising campaign that denigrates milk. The campaign attempts to draw attention to the dangers of lead poisoning with graphics that could mislead consumers to think milk may be to blame. The groups sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, asking USDA to step in to stop the depiction.
The campaign is run by the National Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and its federal partners, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Housing and Urban Development. The ads start with a baby bottle and cereal bowl being filled with what appears to be milk, but then they zoom out so viewers can see the white liquid is paint pouring from a rusted paint can. View the graphics and videos here.
"While we certainly understand the severity of the problem of childhood poisoning in children, we take issue with putting our product in a questionable light," the letter states. "These visuals mislead consumers to think milk is somehow responsible for poisoning children. In fact the opposite is true. Milk, cheese and yogurt are foods recommended by health professionals to help mitigate lead poisoning in children."
Earlier this month, IDFA wrote to the Coalition, urging it to remove the video and print materials from distribution. The executive director wrote back, arguing that the campaign was carefully crafted and that the use of the baby bottle and cereal bowl was "designed to create awareness about this tragic issue." Because the response didn't address IDFA's concerns about the misleading depiction of milk, IDFA and NMPF asked USDA to contact the Federal Trade Commission or HUD and EPA to remove the milk graphics.
• Letter to the National Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, 6/1/10
• Letter from the Coalition to IDFA, received 6/10/10
• Letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, 6/15/10