Did you know that the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) recently submitted a petition to the FDA to “amend the standard of identity” of milk and 17 other dairy products?
This change would mean that the dairy industry will be able to add artificial sweeteners to milk and dairy products, but the addition will not need to be disclosed on the food label.
What are examples of some of the dairy products that would be included in this change?
- Half and half
- Heavy cream
- Evaporated milk
- Whipping cream
- Sour cream
- And obviously, milk
I don’t know about you but many of the dairy products listed above are on our grocery list each week. I believe I have a right to know exactly what’s in them.
Why this change, you ask?
Essentially, because the dairy industry thinks that part of the solution to childhood obesity would be to remove some of the sugar in flavored milk and replace some of it with artificial sweetener, thus reducing the total calories of the milk provided in schools. Wow, what heroes.
The thought of IDFA and NMPF is that labeling phrases like “reduced calorie” (which under today’s regulations would need to be included if sugar was removed and artificial sweetener added) would lead to confusion and displeasure in children, which results in fewer sales for the dairy industry. Their solution is to change the definition of milk altogether so that toxic substances like artificial sweeteners can be added to your milk and dairy products without any labeling or marketing key words to tip consumers off.
Honestly, if the food industry said that they were going to add a super special healthy ingredient to our food supply that would promise to eliminate cancer from this earth forever, I still believe that consumers deserve the right to know that it’s being put into their food. Each and every ingredient that is in food products needs to be disclosed. No exceptions.
Aspartame is one of the artificial sweeteners that the petition references will be used should this be approved. Aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse food reactions reported to the FDA. (Source)
Interesting piece of information: Of 166 studies done on aspartame, 74 of them were funded by the artificial sweetener industry. Of those 74 studies, none of them found any problems with aspartame. The other 92 studies, which were independently funded, over 90% of them found something wrong with aspartame. (Source) Hmm. Additionally, there is a long list of reactions that can come from the consumption of aspartame and it has also been associated with triggering certain chronic diseases. Click here and here to learn more.
Submit your comment to the FDA (they are taking public comments until May 21, 2013) to let them know what you think about the proposed petition. I submitted the comment below to the Federal Register and I invite you to do the same. Click here to link to the Federal Register.
The dairy industry should be ashamed of their efforts to allow artificial sweeteners to not be visible on the food labels of their products. The research related to the dangers of artificial sweeteners is clear and very recent CDC research has shown that despite the decrease in caloric intake, obesity rates are not declining – a clear indicator that a calorie is not a calorie when it comes to weight loss and that artificial sweeteners to reduce sugar/calories in our kid’s beverages is not the answer.
It saddens me to see that the dairy industry is creating the appearance of being concerned about public health when it’s clear they are only in it for the increased profit of their business.
As very conscious and cautious consumer who goes out of my way to provide real, whole, and nourishing foods for my family, I will certainly steer clear of any company who goes down the path of adding artificial sweetener to their milk should this be allowed. I am confident that if this is passed that there are companies with integrity and passion for true optimal health that will avoid any additives in their milk. Only those types of companies will get my business.
The FDA has fallen out of favor with people who work hard to source real food ingredients for their families. The state of our nation’s health and a quick look around the grocery store shows that much of the food allowed and advertised in this country is not food at all anymore. The decision to allow the dairy industry to amend the identity of milk and other dairy products would certainly elicit further distrust in the organization and further damage the health of our nation. Please deny these requests.