Dairy sector responds to study on breast cancer and milk consumption

Published on: March 03, 2020 | Updated on: March 03, 2020 10:24 PM EDT

A new study was released on Feb. 25, which associated dairy milk intake with greater breast cancer risk. The study, entitled Dairy, soy, and risk of breast cancer: those confounded milks, was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and funded by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the World Cancer Research Fund (United Kingdom).

As expected for such a topic, media around the world picked it up rather quickly, with stories published in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, CTV News in Canada and ABC News in the United States.

Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) provided the following statement from Isabelle Neiderer, DFC’s nutrition and research director, to several media outlets: 

“We are aware of a new study looking at the associations between dairy consumption and breast cancer risk. DFC is concerned the findings of this research study could be misleading.”

  • DFC also cited evidence from a study by the World Cancer Research Fund International, considered the authority on diet, weight, physical activity and cancer risk, which suggests total dairy product consumption is either not associated with risk of breast cancer or may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Milk is specifically not associated with risk in both pre and post-menopausal women;

  • The International Dairy Federation (IDF), which represents the global dairy sector and ensures the best scientific expertise is used to support high-quality milk and nutritious, safe and sustainable dairy products, states research generally does not support a strong association between consumption of milk or dairy products and breast cancer risk, although further research is needed;

  • DFC also cited a 2016 study by researcher Jing Wu and his colleagues’ revealed risk of breast cancer decreased by four per cent with skim milk intake. Yogurt and low-fat dairy consumption have also been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer (Zhang et al 2015).

Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) does not support the findings of the study. DFO strongly supports educating Canadians on dairy’s contributions to a healthy and sustainable diet using all available scientific evidence to support those claims, and will continue educating the public about dairy’s benefits via community-based programs and events, and through various advocacy efforts and initiatives.

View related articles

Tomato sauce and pasta in a black iron skillet, placed on a wooden table

Local Kingston: Atomica Takes Bold Flavour in a New Direction

Once the capital city of the province of Canada, Kingston has been quietly reinventing itself, and you can see it in its local food scene.

Read more
Hand holding fiddleheads

Local Sudbury: Verdicchio Serves Up Central Italian Wine & Food Culture

This Northern Ontario mining town might seem like the last place you'd find a traditional, family-owned Italian restaurant at the helm of a progressive local food movement. But after more than 25 years in business, the vision behind Verdicchio Ristorante is clearly working.

Read more
Freshly harvested apples in bins

Ontario's Fall Fruit Harvest is Here!

Those of us who call Ontario home are frankly spoiled by the splendour of our fall harvest.

Read more