ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (AP) — A physicians’ group that paid for an anti-cheese billboard along a Wisconsin highway says the image of a foam cheesehead has been obscured after the product’s manufacturer threatened legal action.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine paid for the billboard near Green Bay. The original design featured the Grim Reaper wearing a foam cheese wedge on his head. The billboard message warns of the health hazards of fat, cholesterol and sodium in cheese.

The image drew complaints from Foamation Inc., the Milwaukee-area maker of foam hats and other novelties. The company said it didn’t want to be associated with something that disparages cheese.

Dr. Neal Barnard is the president of the physicians’ group. He says the group stands by the image but its billboard vendor caved to Foamation’s threat.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (14)
  1. rml says:

    Unreal they claim cheese is a junk food, it has calcium in it, it’s good for you. Geez, they need to get a clue, everything in moderation, that includes food. I hope they get sued, it’s just more fear-mongering and it’s very misleading what they are claiming in that ridiculous billboard.

    1. TL says:

      no kidding…I’d a stuck a Packer football helmet on instead which would be more reflective on thier super bowl aspirations….dead.

      1. Mcnabbed says:

        at least the Packers have aspirations

      2. 3-0 and on a roll says:

        Hmmm Vikes 0-3 Packers 3-0…..enough said

        1. TL says:

          who cares about the Queens? doesnt change that the fudge packers arent going to a SB this year.

          1. Lions Fan says:

            Skol Lions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. gtV says:

      The real issue is infringing upon and misuse of a registered trademark and iconic copyright infringement. That triangle-shaped cheesehead hat is a trademark that is recognized as a symbolic icon much like Apple computers symbolic rainbow Apple Trademark.

      The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine [PCRM] may have a message, albeit confusing, to proclaim regarding cheese but using the Foamation cheesehead hat to imply that all cheese is bad is litigiously confusing. The billboard message is ill-advised and should be replaced by the PCRM. If not, let the court battle begin!

      1. Troy K says:

        I think this falls under the definition of parody and therefore first amendment protection. But yeah, let everybody sue each other, that will do some good for Wisconsin.

        1. gtV says:

          You are partially correct regarding parody and free speech but the greater legal issue is the infringement and subsequent published use of a registered or copyrighted trademark icon without permission. The purpose of which is derogatory against the symbol’s image. This is also a form of libel.

          The First Amendment is not at issue here since the physicians group has the right to state their opinions with advertising on the billboards. It’s the issue of copyright &/or trademark infringement and impugning that are the main legal issues. There is legal precedent & case law to support these comments.

    3. Mike says:

      Facts; 33% of children and adults are obese in WI. (WI Dept. of Public Health).
      Cheese is the No. 1 source of saturated (“bad”) fat in the American diet.
      Bringing attention to cheese and that it has high amounts of fat, sodium and cholesterol is not a bad thing unless you have a problem with responsible messaging.

  2. annmartina says:

    Processed cheese is a junk food. Not real cheese, eaten in moderation. But hopefully this will have the unintended effect of skyrocketing cheese hat sales.

  3. PC Food says:

    Maybe Phillip Morris should put the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine on packs of Marlboros. I bet the PCRM would understand it then.

  4. Mr. Right, always right says:

    anything that demoralizes the Packers is great!!!! We need more billboard signs like this one

  5. norton says:

    The group that put up the sign is probably in big brothers pocket

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