Which food would you prefer? One that is full of fat, calories, pus, antibiotics and pesticides whose production causes huge environmental destruction and cruelty to animals or a dairy-free product? Millions are choosing the latter--dairy-free milks like soy, rice, oat, coconut, pea, almond, cashew, hemp, flax, hazelnut and quinoa. Non-dairy milks generated$1.4 billion in US sales last year, up 54 percent since 2012.
Americans are drinking so little milk, the dairy industry is turning it into cheese. There is such a surplus of cheese, the US government has bought 11 million tons to distribute to food banks. In addition to dumping cheese and undrunk and unmarketable milk in food banks, school lunch programs and other federal food programs, farmers also "manage" the milk surplus by simply killing cows, like the 50,000 destroyed per week during a milk glut in 2009. Yes, a week.
Trying to support dairy farmers and safeguard the health of Americans at the same time finds the USDA talking out of both sides of its mouth. Even as it recommends "low-fat" diets that preclude cheese, it has worked with the industry group, Dairy Management and the food outlets Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy's and Domino's to "cheesify" menus and get Americans to eat more cheese.
Despite the ubiquitous "Got Milk?" ads, milks sales have been falling for decades. The low-fat craze only made things worse----all that unused fat had to go somewhere, said the documentary Fed Up narrated by Katie Couric, and it ended up in the dairy industry's cheese operations.
Milk marketers have tried to portray fat and cholesterol-saturated milk as a health food, even advertising it during the Olympics. Thy have tried to help people "lose weight" with milk with the following suggestions that sound like satire out of the Onion.
"Grab a carton of milk at the drive-through instead of a soda."
"Sip on a cappuccino or latte' instead of black coffee."
"Enjoy a banana and glass of milk for a mid-morning snack."
"Add milk to risotto and rice dishes for a creamier texture."
"Order a milk-based soup like corn chowder, potato leek, or cream of broccoli soup as a first course at dinner."
"Make a 'mocktail' in a goblet with milk and sugar-free hazelnut syrup"