Grim reaper brings anti-cheese message to Wisconsin
A billboard warning of the dangers of cheese consumption went up in Wisconsin on Tuesday, funded by a nonprofit.
September 27th, 2011
11:01 PM ET

Grim reaper brings anti-cheese message to Wisconsin

Cheese lovers, brace yourselves: “Cheese can sack your health.”

That’s the message on a billboard near Wisconsin’s Lambeau Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. And yes, that is the same state that leads the United States in cheese production.

A nonprofit based in Washington, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, posted the anti-cheese billboard on Tuesday after conquering some legal issues.

The poster was initially going to depict the grim reaper wearing a cheesehead hat, with the words “Warning: Cheese can sack your health,” to alert passersby who saw the billboard – who would ideally be football fans, according to However, Foamation Inc., the company that manufactures cheesehead hats, threatened a copyright lawsuit, forcing the organization to remove the cheesehead from its poster, according to the nonprofit’s website.

The PCRM billboard had the grim reaper wearing a cheesehead hat before manufacturers insisted it be removed from the poster.

“We’re happy,” Foamation’s office manager Denise Kaminski told “The Chippewa Herald,” a newspaper based in Wisconsin. “The cheesehead is a fun thing, so we’re glad that has happened.”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said the focus is on health issues.

“The key message is that cheese can hurt your health,” Neal Barnard, the organization's president, said in a press release. “Cheese is the No. 1 source of saturated fat in the American diet. Parents often have no idea that this high-fat product could be causing their children’s weight problems.”

“It ought to come with a warning label so consumers understand the health risk,”
Susan Levin, nutrition education director for the physicians committee, said in the release.

But registered dietitian Roxanne Denneau told affiliate WLUK-TV, "Cheese is not going to sack your health alone. No food by itself is potentially going to sack your health.” The key, she said, is moderation.

"I think most consumers understand this for what it is,” said Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board member Patrick Geoghegan, according to affiliate WBAY. “It's misinformation - it’s typical of what PCRM does."

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt doesn’t seem impressed with the tactic either.

“I think this is kind of silly,” the mayor said, according to WBAY. “I think it’s attacking something - more for PR. There are so many other things that they could be working on.”

But the nonprofit wants the billboard to be visible to fans driving via Route 41 to Sunday’s football game at Lambeau Field, as the Packers face the Denver Broncos, in hopes of influencing a lifestyle change.

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Filed under: Food • Health • U.S. • Wisconsin
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. mormon

    eveeryone loves good cheese. it is yummy.

    September 28, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    No, because then they would say that the excess of fiber is harming our colons, or something.

    I would imagine this would be true – that cheese is bad for you – if one ate two pounds a day, everyday...

    September 28, 2011 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    I miss JIF, too, Jazzy. CSinSC also.

    September 28, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lola

    This is so stupid. Cheese is not bad for you – like anything else, it should be eaten in moderation. And cheese is not an overwhelming contributing factor to child obesity – or obesity in general. The culprit is really junk food and fast food – if you really want your child to eat healthy (or yourself to eat healthy) don't eat processed crap. Of course this includes processed cheese as well, but to target cheese in general? That's just really dumb.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  5. DubhBairn

    Really! There is more pressing issues in the world like the Black Out of the media on Reporting on the WALL STREET PROTESTORS! These people have been beaten, pepper sprayed, punched, dragged, held without charges off and on since Sept. 17th, 2011 when they occupied wall street in NYC. They protest while Wall Street cronies sit and toast with champagne above.. seriously.. I am not joking.. Look it up on YouTube, FB.. it is real and why the media is NOT reporting on this is totally a SHAME! This is NEWS!! People are tired of Wall Street playing with their money, jobs, etc.. If you are reading this go to youtube watch and then tell the media mongols to report on this!!

    September 28, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. wall street man

    The WALL STREET PROTESTORS!!!!!.......let them eat......CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!

    September 28, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. JBooneMN

    Side note – The PCRM is a striclty Vegan organization. They have a hidden agenda that has nothing to do with concern for obese kids.

    September 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bobcat2u.

    What if they just wear the cheese and not eat it ? Is it still a health issue ?

    September 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bobcat2u.

    Well folks please look over the tirade I am about to go on. My high horse is waiting for me to climb aboard.

    Why won't all these government officials and medical experts just admit to the fact that what is causing all the problems with the food we eat, is all the man made chemicals and other crap they are putting into our food. I mean look at what they are feeding and injecting into the animals. Rapid growth hormones, antibiotics, presevatives and god knows what else. Cheese has been a staple since civilization has existed. Why now all of a sudden has it become a health issue.
    Granted the government insisted they had use this method in order to keep up with the feeding of the masses. But in doing so, they have exposed the masses to medical risks that didn't exist decades ago.
    So instead of just acting like we are all stupid, please just tell the truth.

    OK, I'm down off my horse and have put her back in the barn.

    September 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dana

    Just one more thing to blame rather than put the blame where it belongs PARENTS and the lazy fat trolls they produce.

    September 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Janice D.

    I believe the populations of Wisconsin and the Netherlands are comparable as a baseline. The Dutch probably eat much more cheese per capita, and also have one of the longest average lifespans in Europe. The difference is not genetics or diet but the level of routine, daily activity, not just formal exercise. The governor is right, the doctor is wrong. This coming from a nurse with lifelong struggles with weight. It's the activity level. Period.

    September 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Suze2

    I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch today. It was delicious. Am I going to die? I don't think so. I hate busy bodies who want to interfere with other people's pleasures. Besides we all need some dairy foods in our diets. Heck, even the government says so!

    September 28, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MrynaMe

    Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - this must be one of the dumbest group of doctors to date. Can one of these brilliant doctors tell me if they would say this same advice to a CF patient who requires high calories, high fats, high sodium simply to stay healthy. To often the doctors that try to shape american health care are the same ones that could not survive operating a practice in the real world - they are academics and not very pragmatic.

    Please let me know the names of these doctors and let them tell my kids (CF patients) this advice. I could enjoy a good retirement from a malpractice suit. There are too many doctors that should not be practicing medicine nor opening their mouths.

    October 3, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. keepinitreal

    Good gravy! Cheese in moderation is fine. You can have fat or carbs, but not both. Follow this and stay away from highly processed junk. I would love to hear these yahoos attempt to debunk the success that people maintaining the high protein lifestyle are having.

    October 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeremiah

    Hmmm, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board member Patrick Geoghegan doesn't have any sort of angle or bias, does she? Why even bother getting a quote from a pro-dairy firm on an anti dairy issue?

    October 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
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