At the recent International Dairy Federation summit, the Global Dairy Forum was charged with boosting the image of milk since sales have slowed following anti-dairy campaigns that linked the drink to diseases and disorders.
The Forum includes dairy firms such as Arla Foods, Campina, Fonterra and Dairy Farmers of America, and is headed by Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain. Tesco has agreed to get behind a campaign to help educate British consumers about the healthy benefits of drinking milk.
The Global Dairy Forum will launch campaigns to increase the presence of milk and dairy products in schools, as well as encourage women drink more milk to boost their consumption of calcium.
According to Tesco senior dairy buyer Alain Guilpain, more than 90 percent of consumers are unaware of the fat content of milk, and half of those surveyed in a recent study by the Milk Development Council overestimated the fat content by more than six times.
"By getting the right information out there, we can dispel these misconceptions and alert a new generation of drinkers to milk's unique health properties," Guilpain said.
However, milk opponents claim the dairy industry's new forum will push misleading milk information on the public, possibly exacerbating health problems for many consumers.
According to consumer advocate Mike Adams, milk consumption is linked with constipation, sinusitis, digestive disorders and heart disease.
"The dairy industry is working hard to convince humans that a beverage that is nutritionally formulated for baby cows should be routinely consumed by adult human beings," Adams said. "This requires a lot of marketing dollars and a continued campaign of propaganda."
The dairy industry says milk is a key dietary source of calcium, which can help prevent brittle bones. A survey last year revealed that 70 to 80 percent of British children 11 to 18 years old consumed less than their RDA of calcium.