WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- For decades, posters of celebrities with milk mustaches have appeared on billboards and in magazines, telling kids its really "cool" to drink milk. But, if it were up to a certain health advocacy group, milk would not be staple in the school cafeteria.
ThePhysician's Committee for Responsible Medicine advocates a vegan, plant-based diet, and advocates children replace milk with other foods that provide the same nutrients.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture mandates low-fat milk as a required food in school lunches, but PCRM says kids can obtain its key nutrients elsewhere.
PCRM recommends foods like tofu, broccoli, kale and collard greens as sources of calcium and protein, without the saturated fat and lactose (dairy sugar) found in milk.
"You can eat the green leafy vegetables too. You can eat the beans and the grains and get all those nutrients you need, and it's the healthiest source possible," says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., the Director of Nutrition Education for PCRM.
TheInternational Dairy Foods Association is responding to PCRM's anti-milk campaign, labeling it both outrageous and unrealistic. "If you wanted to make up the available calcium in one cup of milk, you would need 13 servings of pinto beans, 15 half-cup servings of spinach to make up that calcium, and I don't think kids are going to eat that much," says Cary Frye, the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the IDFA.
A spokesperson with Montgomery County Schools says that they have yet to hear from parents advocating this change in the cafeteria, and that it is unlikely to happen.
PCRM is also taking their campaign to the general public by running ads in the D.C. Metro system. The ads parody First Lady Michelle Obama's"Let's Move!" campaign with PCRM's slogan, "Let's Really Move Milk Out of School Lunches."
According to Frye, this is "a sensationalist ad campaign that has an animal rights agenda. It is not based on science."
But PCRM defends its stance. "There's absolutely no biological reason for any human or mammal to drink milk after weaning, and certainly not the milk of another species. It is completely out of the ordinary," says Levin.