Headlines today suggesting that consuming organic milk while pregnant could lead to children with reduced IQs will have made for alarming reading for the dairy industry - particularly as the claims affect a key target group for organic products.

A widely reported study from the University of Reading showed organic milk contains up to a third less iodine than conventional cow’s milk – leading researchers to warn that switching to organic milk during pregnancy could be risky.

Pointing out that iodine is crucial for the brain development of babies, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy, they claimed consumption of organic milk could lead to iodine deficiencies in mothers, and result in children with a lower IQ.

This news obviously went down like a glass of spoiled milk, with worried mothers taking to Mumsnet and social media. The likes of the Telegraph, The Guardian, the Mail and ITV warned that an organic pinta could make babies stupid.

But a look behind the scaremongering headlines reveals a rather different picture. Turns out the study was actually carried out 16 months ago, and since then the dairy industry has reintroduced iodine into animal feed. The latest independent tests have found that organic milk is not deficient in iodine when compared with conventional milk.

The organic and conventional farming industries have also not always seen eye to eye, so it was encouraging today to see the likes of the Soil Association, Dairy UK and the Organic Milk Suppliers’ Co-operative (OMSCO) respond so unanimously and robustly to the study to set the record straight.

With the dairy industry still suffering from the twin threats of a supermarket price war and a collapse in farmgate prices, this was the least these bodies could have done.

But it leaves room for more. Attacks on milk and its nutritional properties are on the rise, and responding to negative headlines (while vital) may not be enough. Time for the industry to think seriously about what more it can do to create strong, positive, proactive messages around its products.