Got diet milk? In a highly controversial move, the dairy industry wants to market artificially sweetened milk—without any special label to alert consumers.
In a petition filed with the FDA, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) seek to change the definition of “milk” so that chemical sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose can be used as optional ingredients not listed on the product label.
The FDA is seeking public comments on the petition. Click here to let the FDA—and dairy industry—know what you think.
If the petition—originally filed in 2009 and now under consideration by the FDA—is successful, these hidden additives could also be included in 17 other dairy products—including whipping cream, low-fat and non-fat yogurt, eggnog, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and half-and-half—without requiring any special labeling.
The dairy industry contends that using artificial sweeteners like aspartame as optional ingredients in milk and other dairy foods without any special labeling would “promote more healthy eating” and boost kid appeal. Currently, milk consumption is dropping among both children and adults.
In part, the petition states:
IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as "reduced calorie" are not attractive to children and maintain that consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims. Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk—including flavored milk—as necessarily containing sugar. Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can "more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”
The goal of the petition is to persuade the FDA to drop a requirement that milk and other dairy products be labeled as “artificially sweetened” if they contain aspartame or other calorie-free sugar substitutes. Last week, the FDA asked the public to submit comments and data about using artificial sweeteners in dairy foods. So far, there is no FDA ruling on the petition.
Currently, dairy producers can label products as “milk” if they are unsweetened or contain sweeteners with calories, such as high-fructose syrup or sugar, according to the Huffington Post. Examples of sweetened dairy products include chocolate or strawberry milk and flavored yogurts.
In addition, aspartame and other chemical sweeteners can currently be used in dairy products as long as they are clearly labeled accordingly.
Aspartame is a chemical sweetener that’s widely used in diet soda and other low-cal foods, including yogurt. It’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar and was originally sold under the brand name NutraSweet. At least 90 countries have declared it safe, but several new and recent studies link artificially sweetened drinks (particularly soda) to a wide range of health threats.
While not yet carved in scientific stone, the emerging evidence is disturbing. Here’s a rundown:
Get the information you need to improve your health and wellness on Healthline.com.
Knee Pain Assessment. Use this simple tool to determine the severity of your knee pain symptoms.
Erectile Dysfunction Diagnosis. Since there are many potential causes for erectile dysfunction, your physician may want to be comprehensive in his or her investigation.
10 Top Health Risks for Men. Top health risks for men include heart disease, COPD, depression, liver disease, diabetes, skin cancer, and AIDS.
Erectile Dysfunction Treatments. ED treatments differ based on the cause of the disorder, but generally includes drug treatments, surgery, changes in diet, or therapy.
Visit Healthline. Visit Healthline today for more useful lifestyle and wellness information.