Coalition Updates Misleading Dairy Marketing Complaint in Washington State - Larry’s Market and Wilcox Dairy Alleged to Violate State and Federal Rules

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A coalition of consumer, agriculture and sound science groups has updated an outstanding complaint regarding concerns over false and misleading marketing in the dairy industry in Washington State. The complaint, first filed in 2002, identifies several dairies and retailers making marketing claims on labels, advertisings, in-store displays and Web sites with false or misleading claims of health, nutrition and product quality distinctions for their products. The complaint filed with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission has been updated to include Wilcox Dairy and Larry’s Markets which have begun similar marketing campaigns.

A coalition of consumer, agriculture and sound science groups has updated an outstanding complaint regarding concerns over false and misleading marketing in the dairy industry in Washington State. The complaint, first filed in 2002, identifies several dairies and retailers making marketing claims on labels, advertisings, in-store displays and Web sites with false or misleading claims of health, nutrition and product quality distinctions for their products. The complaint filed with the Washington State Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission has been updated to include Wilcox Dairy and Larry’s Markets which have begun similar marketing campaigns.

“Our coalition includes concerned consumers -- mostly moms, farmers and public policy experts who share our alarm over these unchecked false and misleading marketing claims by certain unscrupulous members of the dairy and food industries in Washington State,” stated Alex Avery, a coalition member and director of research and education with the Center for Global Food Issues (http://www.cgfi.org). “We’ve received complaints from consumers in Washington State who feel confused and misled by labels, advertising and marketing which falsely imply some milk to be safer, more nutritious or of higher quality than other milk based on different production and animal health practices used by dairy producers.”

Based on this and other complaints filed by the Stop Labeling Lies Coalition (http://www.stoplabelinglies.com) the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to several dairies engaged in misleading marketing practices. In response to the Coalition’s original complaint, The Washington State Department of Agriculture issued a similar warning letter to Vitamilk (now owned by Wilcox Dairy) noting concerns regarding claims “that may be misleading to the consuming public.”

Two years after Washington State’s complaint letter the same types of marketing claims continue to be used by Wilcox Dairy, Larry’s Markets and others listed in the Coalition’s original complaint: Sunshine Dairy, Horizon Organic Dairy, Wild Oats Markets, Stonyfield Farms Yogurt, Safeway Select Organic, and Trade Joe’s Markets. The Coalition asserts that these claims, which include “pesticide-free,” “no hormones added,” and “no antibiotics,” are in most cases simply false and consumer research clearly shows they mislead consumers who in turn pay premiums for products marketing these and similar distinctions.

“Misleading marketing practices by some in the dairy industry designed to increase sales of niche products are creating false fears and driving people away from affordable, nutritious dairy products,” stated Steve Milloy, president of Citizens for the Integrity of Science.

For more information, please visit the Stop Labeling Lies Web site or (http://milkismilk.com).

Contacts:

Steven J. Milloy,

Citizens for the Integrity of Science

301-258-9320

Or

Alex Avery

Center for Global Food Issues

540-337-6354

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