Debunking the Milk Myth

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On nous répète depuis plus de 60 ans qu’il faut consommer du lait et autres produits laitiers : « Buvez du lait » ou encore « Les produits laitiers sont nos amis pour la vie ». Nombreuses sont les publicités télévisées ou autres pour nous faire boire du lait de vache. Il serait même un alicament miracle : riche en calcium, il permettrait  aux enfants de grandir plus vite et de renforcer les os des personnes âgées. Cependant, depuis quelques années, de plus en plus d’études nous montrent que le lait de vache ne serait pas le produit miracle que l’on croyait mais bien au contraire un poison pour l’organisme humain.

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Created in the 1930s, the Milk Marketing Boards were big groupings of production: the British State bought a big part of the milk production and found a market for the producers, it negotiated the prices and divided the revenues equally between the producers. But Milk Marketing Boards was given up in 1994, since the production is now more complicated, and all the producers don’t have the same revenues. 60% of them negotiate directly with mass-market retailing corporations and 40% have formed groups to increase their negotiating power. But the lobbying power of the big retailers has grown bigger and they often get to impose low prices. In England in 2005 milk reached an all-low price of €253 per tonne, the lowest price in Europe. Consequently production fell dramatically and the number of producers fell by 50% in less than a decade. 

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The shrinking of the UK’s milk production led to an intensification of production, which does not really respect the animals’ well-being.

The United Kingdom’s milk production may soon look like America’s. Can you imagine a giant farm with 30,000 cows packed together in their own poo? Of course the American milk industry thought of everything because farms collect the methane excrements contain to produce electricity, to the detriment of the cows’ hygiene… And this new system is to arrive in France too, more precisely in Amiens, in a farm with one thousand cows. This production leads to more antibiotics consumption: cows get sick and are injected antibiotics, which we drink when we drink a glass of milk. And then when we take antibiotics because we’re sick, the antibiotics prove increasingly ineffective.

milk3Futhermore, according to several studies milk could be unhealthy. Not only does milk not strengthen our bones nut it could also be responsible for numerous diseases such as prostate cancer, articular diseases, ear infections or migraines… The number of lactose-intolerant people is increasing and the anti-milk movement is growing by the day.

Indeed, in surprising results, an investigation into the dietary habits of more than 100,000 people found those who drank more milk were no less likely to break a bone. Among women, higher milk consumption was actually linked to an increased risk of hip fractures. Even more strikingly, people who drank more than three glasses of milk – around 680ml – per day, were more likely to die over the course of the study, which tracked 60,000 women for 20 years, and 45,000 men for 11 years.

In the USA, health writer Robert Cohen published Milk, The Deadly Poison in 1998. It was an instant best-seller. In the book, Robert Cohen put forward the dangers of the milk lobby around the world. He dedicated his book to “all the people in the world who suffer from all kinds of health problems without being conscious of the food origin of their troubles. May they discover that the youth fountain, for them, their children and the future generations, could only come after the elimination of milk!

Watch this American video:

So, is it really necessary to stop consuming milk altogether? Or only cow milk? What about goat and ewe milk? The debate is still raging and for the moment nobody agrees on the dangers of milk consumption. All scientists do agree human milk is best for humans. And human milk has become a business! In Covent Garden a few years ago, you could buy breast milk ice creams for 14£!

Tony LIM, Louis RENAUD & Charlie VIELLE

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