The plaintiffs are suing on behalf of all D.C. residents. They argue that many area residents are not aware they are lactose intolerant and unwittingly buy milk, only to suffer side effects after drinking it. They also charge the dairy industry with deceiving the public into thinking that milk is essential. The plaintiffs are represented by Dan Kinburn, PCRM's associate general counsel. The case is being filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Defendants include Giant of Maryland; Safeway; Horizon Organic; Dean Foods; Nestle Holdings; Farmland Dairies; Shenandoah's Pride; Stonyfield Farm; and Cloverland Farms Dairy.
"Imagine a child of 8 or 10 years of age getting sick every day, and no one knows why," says Kinburn. "These children are often misdiagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome, parasites, or other illnesses until someone figures out the problem is milk." Lactose intolerance is often unrecognized because it comes on gradually and occurs in individuals who were previously able to drink milk without symptoms. "Consumers should be warned about milk's possible health effects," Kinburn says.
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