Entries in Cheese (3)


Doctors Group Removes Cheese Hat from Controversial Billboard

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(GREEN BAY, Wis.) -- A billboard carrying an ominous warning about cheese consumption went up as planned Tuesday near Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., but with its most controversial element missing.

The Grim Reaper has lost his Cheesehead.

The physicians group that sponsored the ad says the billboard vendor refused to put up the original ad after the manufacturer of Cheesehead hats threatened legal action against both the doctors group and the billboard company.

“Although we weren’t backing down the billboard vendor did back down,” said Dr. Neil Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which designed the ad and rented the billboard space.

The original ad featured The Grim Reaper sporting a Cheesehead, a triangular yellow hat made popular by legions of fans of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.  The text of the ad reads: "Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health. Fat. Cholesterol. Sodium.”

But Barnard said that after receiving a threat of legal action from Foamation, the company that holds trademarks on the Cheesehead, the billboard vendor refused to put the ad up in its original form. According to Barnard, PCRM offered to indemnify the company against legal action, but still they wouldn’t budge.

So Tuesday, after painting over the Cheesehead with black and gray paint, the sign is now up along Route 41 in De Pere, a heavily traveled route for Packers’ fans on their way to the stadium.

“The message that we designed was intended to be informative about an important issue and a little bit funny, in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way,” Barnard said.  “And I am sorry that some of that is going to be lost.  This is America, and if I want to say that cheese is high in cholesterol and sodium and fat, a doctor should be able to say that.”

The underlying message of the campaign is that the American people are consuming far too much cheese, and it is leading to obesity and other health problems, he said. According to USDA figures cited by PCRM, the average American consumes nearly 34 pounds of cheese annually, more than 10 times the average amount a century ago.

“Where are we putting 30 more pounds of cheese per person every year? The answer, Barnard says, “is on our thighs, in our middles and all over our bodies, in obesity. That word has got to get out but it is going to take more than one billboard to drive that point home.”

PCRM’s planned billboard had also raised the ire of the state’s $26 billion dairy industry.  An official of the state’s Milk Marketing Board said Monday that the group is an animal rights fringe group with a “vegan agenda.”  The erasure of the Cheesehead is not likely to placate advocates for the dairy industry.

Barnard said PCRM’s campaign is about public health and free speech, and he’s disappointed the Cheesehead company decided to object to the billboard. And he couldn’t resist a parting shot at Packers’ fans who don the hats on any given Sunday.

“If they feel like someone somehow is hurting the reputation of a Cheesehead, it is hard to imagine anything hurting the reputation of it any more than has already been done by all those people sitting in the stands at ball games with paint on their faces with those silly hats on their heads eating hot dogs,” he said. “It is not a very appealing image.”

Take that, Cheeseheads.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Doctors Provoke Dairy Industry Backlash, Say Cheese Is Unhealthy

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A provocative billboard from a nonprofit physicians’ group planned for display near Lambeau Field in Wisconsin has stirred controversy even before it goes up.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C., has announced the ad, which includes the Grim Reaper wearing a “Cheesehead” hat and which carries an ominous message, “Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health. Fat. Cholesterol. Sodium.”

“Cheese has somehow managed [to be marketed] as some kind of health food, which is exactly the opposite of what it is,” says Susan Levin, a registered dietitian who is the director of nutrition education for PCRM. “It is an incredibly unhelpful food product with loads of fat, cholesterol and sodium.  It is a pretty toxic food for people to be consuming.”

The message itself is certainly enough to stoke a backlash in Wisconsin, where the economy leans heavily on the dairy industry. But the location of the billboard itself seems designed to provoke a reaction. The Cheesehead, of course, is worn proudly by thousands of fans of the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, who play their home games at legendary Lambeau Field. The new billboard will be placed strategically along U.S. Highway 41 near the stadium, so that all those tailgaters would have something to think about in the parking lots on Sundays as they gobble up deep-fried cheese curds and Cheesehead Beer Cheese Soup.

"That visual is going to resonate more near a Packers’ game for obvious reasons,” Levin says. “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that cheese is unhealthy, and we think that [this] is a good place to get that attention.”

The billboard was scheduled to go up Monday, but bad weather has apparently delayed its going up until Tuesday. But that hasn’t stopped Wisconsin’s $26-billion dairy industry from starting to fight back.

“They are taking a page out of PETA’s book on this. They are trying to shock people,” says Patrick Geoghegan of Wisconsin’s Milk Marketing Board. Geoghegan characterizes PCRM as a fringe group with a “vegan agenda” that is more about animal rights than human health.

“People have been eating cheese for thousands of years,” says Geoghegan. “Many cheeses are an excellent source of calcium and a source of high-quality protein and phosphorus. It tastes great. We should enjoy it.”

PCRM is also facing potential legal action from Foamation, a family-owned Wisconsin business that owns the trademark to the Cheesehead brand. “We asked them to remove our product from the billboard,” says Edward Sarskas, an attorney for the company. “If they fail to comply we will have to consider all options, including going to a judge to order that it be taken down.”

But PCRM, which paid $3,500 for a month of space on the billboard, says this is about free speech rights. “There’s no way that anyone could perceive this as an attack on a hat,” Dan Kinburn, the organization’s general counsel told ABC News. “No one is criticizing the hat. No one is criticizing Packer fans. The only one being criticized is the dairy industry. The message is that dairy and cheese are bad food.” Kinburn says that as soon as the weather clears, the billboard will go up as planned.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Whole Foods Pulls Bravo Farms Cheese

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Whole Foods pulled seven types of cheddar cheese from its shelves Saturday, joining a recall of Bravo Farms product possibly linked to an outbreak of E. Coli and listeria in five western states.

The Los Angeles Times reports the cheese was sold at stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.

Affected varieties reportedly include Sage Cheddar, Silver Mountain Cheddar, Chipotle Cheddar, Premium Block Cheddar, Premium White Chunk Cheddar, Chipotle Chunk Cheddar and White Black Wax Cheddar.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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