This past weekend, Ontario public television network TVO announced via Twitter that it has “partnered with Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) to bring educational activities and resources to Ontario parents, teachers, and students with topics ranging from food and nutrition to food regulations and more!”
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As of Monday evening, the tweet was deleted, with TVO vaguely citing “unhealthy discourse” in the responses. It appears a lot of people weren’t pleased to learn that a lobby group is being given access to children in order to sell a product under the guise of education, especially a product as problematic as dairy.

This is not DFO’s first foray into the classroom. Pre-pandemic, the group provided in-class dairy marketing via “dairy educators” and programs entitled “Dairy farming” and “Dairy goodness,” to any school that wanted it. Now, with that program on hold due to pandemic restrictions, DFO needs a new way to keep kids believing the old myth that milk does a body good.

The dairy lobby has become desperate in recent years, as plant-based alternatives rapidly gain popularity, and as long-hidden truths about dairy production’s impact on the planet and on animals are publicly exposed.

Last year, the latest edition of the Canada Food Guide was published without dairy as a designated food group, and with greater focus on plant-based protein sources. The Food Guide has a long history of being swayed by industry, particularly the dairy lobby, and the latest edition is said to be the first free of industry influence, and with more focus on — who’d have thought — nutrition!

“Dairy was removed from the Food Guide because it does not provide any unique nutrients. Therefore, it is not an essential component of our diets,” says registered dietitian Dr. Pamela Fergusson. Calcium and protein, she says, can be found abundantly in other food sources.

As both a nutrition expert and parent, Fergusson says she is very concerned about the dairy industry contributing to nutrition education for children. “Dairy industry associations are not health or education organizations. They are for-profit stakeholders benefiting from generations of government-sanctioned and even government-sponsored propaganda.”

Enter TVO: a public broadcasting network owned by the Government of Ontario, funded through the Ministry of Education, and now the latest platform to boost this directed dairy advertising to young students.

In one of the new interactive modules entitled, “How Cows Make Milk,” meant for Grade 11 students, key steps of milk production are completely ignored. Not once is it mentioned that dairy cows must be perpetually impregnated and continually giving birth in order to make milk; And not once is it mentioned that calves are often taken away from their mothers within 24 hours of being born, so that their milk can be rerouted for human consumption.

What is stated though, is that milk is “nature’s perfect food.” Thus the deception of dairy marketing persists, now through government funded virtual learning. Parents and educators should be equally appalled.

Jerry Dakin’s cows have produced milk that helped feed families across the state for decades. Now, the longtime Manatee County dairyman has been recognized as Florida’s Farmer of the Year.

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