Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Petition to USDA to end the government's fad diet advertising for pork

The explicit fad diet weight-loss advertising has been removed from the federal government's fluid milk and dairy checkoff program websites, following a successful citizen petition from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. However, fad diet weight-loss promotions based on low carb claims are still found on the web pages of the federal government's National Pork Board.

The semi-governmental checkoff programs are established by Congress and administered by boards that are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture from names nominated by the respective industries. All advertising and other messages must be approved as "government speech" by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. The money for their mandatory campaigns come from a tax on producers and importers, and collection of the tax is enforced by the Department of Justice.

Because high-calcium and low carb fad weight loss diets are contrary to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are supposed to be the federal government's authoritative statement for nutrition communication, I recently wrote USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service to petition for the end of low carb marketing through all the federal government's checkoff programs, including the pork program.

Low carb marketing is past its prime in any case, so my best guess is they will comply with the petition and say they were planning to end that campaign anyway. I'll let you know how it goes.

[See next post for a related story].

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