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COLUMN: Wary of pure dairy

Dean's DairyPure campaign boasts milk that meets the standards

In this advertising-saturated age, it is common-sense that commercials intentionally attempt to mislead us. We anticipate the manipulated facts, the exaggerated benefits, the diminished drawbacks and the distorted results ad agencies employ to convince us their product merits our trust and our dollar. But a new advertisement, recently produced by DairyPure from Dean’s, takes a new approach to these time-honored strategies: it misleads by telling the truth.

Most frustrating about this commercial is not that it presents their five-point plan as exceptional while describing nearly all milk; it also fuels the distrust of dairy products which has plagued the industry in recent years since the organic craze began sweeping the nation.

Anxiety about growth hormones, potentially-harmful antibiotics and milk purity has prompted consumers to favor products labeled “organic” because they seem less artificial and therefore more safe and healthy, but in this case the leap from “natural” to “beneficial” is a misinformed one.

The commercial features four cows students with their teacher quizzing them on Dean’s DairyPure “5-point Purity Promise” boasting its milk contains “no artificial growth hormones,” is “tested for antibiotics,” is “continually quality tested to ensure purity,” “only comes from cows fed a healthy diet” and is “cold shipped fresh from your local dairy.”

Everything about this advertisement feels suspiciously obvious. As my sister (a 10-year member of the 4H dairy project and employee of a local dairy farm) posited and data later reflected, there is absolutely nothing exceptional about DairyPure milk. Their five-point promise describes every gallon you see at the grocery, from generic brands to pricey organic ?options.

Use of the bovine growth hormone rBGH has dropped off in recent years due to controversy over potentially adverse health effects, especially in young children and women. Now, nearly all milk is rBGH-free.

The extensive testing Dean’s divided into two different phrasings of the same promise is also a national standard in the milk-transportation process. A graphic on the Western Dairy Association’s website illustrates milk being tested for antibiotics and quality before leaving local farms not as a phenomenon, but as a standardized operating procedure.

DairyPure’s fourth declaration, that their milk “only comes from cows fed a healthy diet,” is far too subjective to be considered an achievement. All cattle eat grass, hay and grain, so feel safe in assuming it’s the same fare as all the other dairies.

Finally, the most crucial — and therefore universal — aspect of the dairy process Dean’s has turned into a trophy is keeping milk cold during transportation. As a part of the pasteurization process, all milk remains refrigerated from the moment it enters the first tank at the farm. According to the FDA’s Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, milk must be pasteurized to be considered a safe, high-quality product.

We must consume advertisements with perspective and discernment; sometimes the commercials telling the truth provide the least honest perspective.

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