Fake news ‘a threat to public health’

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fake news has damaged the reputation of milk and cheese, says the Dairy Council
Fake news has damaged the reputation of milk and cheese, says the Dairy Council

Related tags: Health, Milk

Fake news poses a serious health risk, claimed The Dairy Council, while damaging the reputation of dairy products in the public eye.

The organisation said news that was biased, misrepresented facts, or completely fabricated had portrayed cheese and yogurt as unhealthy foods to be avoided.

The Dairy Council said dairy foods were hugely popular throughout the UK and it had never been more important to convey the benefits of milk and dairy products to the public.

Communities and content manager Gary Cosby said: “It’s even more crucial in this era of fake news and misinformation that the science and evidence-base on dairy is communicated through The Dairy Council’s social media outlets.

‘Public are being overwhelmed’

“The public are being overwhelmed with stories based on the opinion of non-experts and we must ensure that reliable and trustworthy information is out there about dairy, health and nutrition.”

Milk and dairy products are high in protein and calcium, making them a key part of healthy living, according to the National Health Service (NHS).

What is fake news?

Fake news, or hoax news, refers to false information or propaganda published under the guise of being authentic news.

Source: Webopedia 

“Our bodies need protein to work properly and to grow or repair themselves. Calcium helps to keep our bones and teeth strong. The calcium in dairy foods is particularly good for us because our bodies absorb it easily,”​ said the NHS.

Dietitian Azmina Govindji told attendees of a Dairy Council seminar at the University of Westminster this week that some of the fake news circulating media outlets could be harmful.

‘Potentially harmful’

Everyone seems to have an opinion on nutrition these days, and media headlines often lure the public into faddy eating, which can in some cases be potentially harmful.

“Dietitians and degree-qualified nutritionists base their advice on good published evidence and research.”

Govindji warned that fake news often quoted anecdotal evidence or misleading claims

“Check the credentials of the author – look for letters like RD or RNutr. after their name,” ​she added. “Fake news shouldn't make news at all.”

What they say about fake news

Azmina Govindji

“Fake news often quotes anecdotal evidence or misleading claims – don't get sucked into miracle cures and quick fix diets that suggest you cut out whole food groups, or that base recommendations on a single study. Fake news shouldn't make news at all.”

Donald Trump, US President

“Fake news media, which makes up stories and ‘sources’ is far more effective than the discredited Democrats - but they are fading fast!”

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

“If this continues and we lose common understanding then even if we eliminated all misinformation, people would just emphasize different sets of facts to fit their polarized opinions. That’s why I’m so worried about sensationalism in media.”

Tim Cook, Apple chief executive

“We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth. It’s killing people’s minds in a way.”

Related topics: People & Skills, Dairy

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