CHEESE WEIGHS IN

As an organization representing most cheese manufacturers and marketers in this country, we take issue with some of the suggestions made in the recent article ["3-A-Day Protest Reaches Retailers," Feb. 24, 2002, Page 41] and the letter to the editor on the same topic.f developing osteoporosis and other preventable diseases later in life. The federal government has long recognized the serious nature

As an organization representing most cheese manufacturers and marketers in this country, we take issue with some of the suggestions made in the recent article ["3-A-Day Protest Reaches Retailers," Feb. 24, 2002, Page 41] and the letter to the editor on the same topic.

f developing osteoporosis and other preventable diseases later in life. The federal government has long recognized the serious nature of this calcium crisis, and has listed it as one of its top public-health priorities.

The "3-A-Day of Dairy" name was created to make consumers aware that to meet the recommended dairy and calcium goals established by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most individuals should consume three servings of dairy each day. Research indicates that if you don't suggest how often a person should eat a particular type of food, it's harder for the public to make practical use of nutrition advice. "3-A-Day of Dairy" tries to eliminate this confusion.

But perhaps most importantly in response to the recent comments, the "3-A-Day of Dairy" logo has been vigorously reviewed as to its usage, and follows the government's regulatory guidelines. Only milk, cheese and yogurt products may use the campaign's logo. As with any other health benefit messaging, products bearing the logo must meet all appropriate FDA regulations for food labeling. A product carrying the "3-A-Day" logo must contain at least 20% of the daily value for calcium. When applicable, products featuring the logo will refer consumers to look at the nutrition facts panel for nutritional information about the levels of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and/or sodium.

We support the "3-A-Day of Dairy" initiative, because it presents an opportunity to educate the public and promote a nutritious diet that will lead to healthier and longer lives. The message is a simple, clear directive that the American public will easily understand to get on the right path to good nutrition and health. That is the view of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Dietetic Association and the National Medical Association, and it is our view as well.

E. Linwood Tipton

President and CEO

National Cheese Institute

Washington