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Plant-Based doctors from The Physicians Committee have called for an investigation after the Trump administration actively opposed supporting a resolution to encourage breastfeeding at the World Health Assembly in July – alleging undue influence from the dairy industry may have played a role.

The Committee – a nonprofit of 12,000 doctors – has filed a Petition for Investigation with the Inspectors General of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The petition, filed on August 8, alleges ‘unlawful acquiescence to dairy industry influence as health authorities weigh the scientific evidence including a series published in TheLancet showing universal breastfeeding would prevent 823,000 child deaths per year, among other benefits’. While the Committee describes the delegations efforts as ‘mostly unsuccessful’, it says ‘an investigation of HHS and USDA is needed to prevent similar corrupt incorporation of dairy industry influence during the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’.

‘Harming infants’

Physicians Committee Vice President of Legal Affairs, Mark Kennedy, Esq., authored the petition. He said: “The administration is harming infants by discouraging breastfeeding and instead promoting commercial dairy-based infant formula products.

“[T]he Offices of the Inspector General should promptly investigate 1) HHS and USDA for failing to adhere to the Federal Advisory Committee Act in developing the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans and 2) USDA’s dairy checkoff for violating the prohibition on using checkoff funds to influence Governmental policy or action.”

In the Petition for Investigation, Kennedy says: “Since the beginning of 2016, the dairy industry has spent more than $16,000,000 lobbying the federal government and contributed more than $4,500,000 to the current administration’s political party during federal elections. These investments have paid off, literally and figuratively.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.