Asda, the UK unit of Wal-Mart, has cut the price of a four-pint carton of milk to just 15 pence (US$0.29) when purchased as part of its "any two for GBP2" promotion.

The move has been criticised by representatives of the UK dairy industry as "sending out the wrong message" to the country's consumers.

Commenting on the promotion, Gwyn Jones said: "It sends the wrong message to consumers about the value of milk, at a time when all concerned should be focusing on adding value to the milk supply chain."

However, Jones acknowledged that the reduced price was part of a short-term promotion and praised Asda for promoting higher milk consumption.

"We do welcome the fact that Asda is providing its customers with nutritional and other information to encourage them to drink more milk," Jones said.