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The spread of fake news delivered by the media is on the rise posing a serious health risk to consumers, experts explained today.

Fake news surrounding diet and nutrition is now at the top of the public health agenda as much of what consumers are exposed to by the media today is biased, misrepresented facts, or is completely fabricated.

The Dairy Council said today that all too often milk, cheese and yogurt are portrayed as unhealthy foods to be avoided, when they are in fact key elements of a healthy, balanced diet.

Diet and lifestyle experts came together in London today at the University of Westminster to attend a seminar organised by The Dairy Council addressing the cross-fire of the fact versus fiction debate which continues to surround dairy products.

Gary Cosby, Communities and Content Manager, for The Dairy Council 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. The public are being overwhelmed with stories based on the opinion of non-experts and we ensure that reliable and trustworthy information is out there about dairy, health and nutrition.”

The conference heard from Azmina Govindji and Jason Squires, leading experts at the forefront of communicating effectively in the media.

Azmina Govindji, award-winning dietitian, said: “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.

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

The Dairy Council added that dairy foods are hugely popular throughout the UK and it has never been more important to convey the nutrient richness of milk and dairy products to the public.