Controversial anti-cheese billboards replaced by opposite message | Business
ALBANY -- You can say cheese, but don't eat it. That was the message on the billboard ads in the Capital Region with pictures of grossly obese people. They caused quite a stir -- and they were recently replaced with the complete opposite message.
There were only two of them -- one in Schodack and the other one in Menands.
It appears the billboards were intentionally replaced based on the shocking nature of the anti-cheese message.
For the owner of the Schodack diner, it's a much better view for her customers.
"When it first got on, I was quite surprised because it was the complete opposite message. I figured...somebody made some phone call somewhere," said Maria Stamoulis from the Schodack Diner.
Stamoulis said a phone call or perhaps a full blown fight between the New York dairy industry, the third largest in the nation, and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a non-profit group behind the billboards that many found offensive.
One, at routes 9 and 20 in Schodack, showed a close up of dimpled flesh. Another one in Menands had a picture a massive belly.
"When we saw the sign with the naked buttock, it was just distasteful. It didn't have a clear message,” said Stamoulis.
The group that put up the billboards is targeting cheese because it's the number one source of saturated fat. They're also criticizing schools in Albany, saying they serve too much cheese to kids, adding to the nation's obesity crisis.
“This gives us an opportunity to say that cheese is a wonderful food and it should be a big part of the American diet,” Matt Nelligan from the New York State Farm Bureau told NewsChannel 13 a month ago.
A few days ago, the anti-cheese ads disappeared in both locations. They were replaced by words that support dairy farmers. American Dairy Association and Dairy Council and several other dairy industry groups are listed as sponsors on the new billboards.
“It was the complete opposite. We don't have the weird comment from customers. Everybody is happy overall,” Stamoulis said.