Sunday 18 April 2021

Dairy organisation criticised for continuing to spread misleading claims on sites

Not that healthy for cows Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch dairy organisation NZO has pledged to remove misleading claims from all its websites following more complaints by animal welfare organisation Wakker Dier.

The organisation had accused the NZO of ignoring a ruling in May last year by the Dutch advertising standards authority RCC which said a campaign to promote dairy products is ‘misleading’ and must be changed.

The organisation found that another 11 NZO affiliated websites contained the same misleading information. ‘If the RCC rules one website is misleading they simply repeat the same lies on another website,’ Wakker Dier spokesman Anne Hilhorst said.

The NZO claims the RCC’s ruling only applied to the campaign website but after consumer programme Radar highlighted the case, the organisation promised to adapt the contents of the other sites as well.

Wakker Dier intitially reported 28 misleading claims on the NZO campaign website, 12 of which were upheld by the RCC. ‘Much of the information was just too slick and misleading when it comes to animal health, human health and sustainability,’ Hilhorst  Wakker Dier said at the time.

One complaint, which was upheld by the RCC, centred on the claim that milk is healthy, even though many cows have health problems caused by the drive to increase production and efficiency.

Three in 10 cows suffer udder infections every year and 25% to 70% suffer from hoof problems, Wakker Dier claims. The NZO was also criticised for claiming dairy is part of a healthy diet and that the government’s healthy eating agency Voedingsinstituut is encouraging dairy consumption.

The NZO’s claims that dairy farming has ‘an optimal feed and manure cycle’ and that it is ‘sustainable’ were also both labelled misleading. ‘If this were true the Netherlands wouldn’t be struggling with a nitrogen pollution crisis,’ Hilhorst said.

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