Unlabeled Aspartame in Milk?
Those of us with Celiac Disease and/or food allergies know how important it is for ALL of the ingredients in our food to be labeled. Not only that, but don’t we all, as people, have a right to know what is in our food?
Well, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), we shouldn’t.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing that the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition requesting that the Agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient. FDA is issuing this notice to request comments, data, and information about the issues presented in the petition.
What does this really boil down to (1), what are their “reasons” (2), and what can we do to stop it(3)?
1. The IDFA and the NMPF want “ to allow the use of “any safe and suitable” sweetener in optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk” (and 17 other milk and cream products); ”to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener—including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame.”
Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk—including flavored milk—as necessarily containing sugar.
There is some truth to that: “consumers do not recognize milk as necessarily containing sugar.” Whose fault is that? Maybe if we could spend less time teaching children how to not fail a state assessment test, then we could teach them that lactose is a form of sugar. My children know this, but it is because they read labels and we talk about them.
2. “IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school.”
What a crock! Well, yes, more children drink chocolate milk at school. It’s loaded with corn syrup (I know, I’ve looked at my kids’ milk) and chocolate. Really? If you were a kid and chocolate milk was ALWAYS an option, wouldn’t you drink it? Instead, maybe we should just get rid of the flavored milk in the schools altogether.
And, honestly, how does adding more sugar into their diets reduce the risk of childhood obesity? My 4 year old’s school has fried French toast sticks and Frosted Flakes for breakfast. I really don’t see where we, as a nation, are really that concerned about obesity. We talk about it a lot, but PE times are reduced, the lunches really aren’t healthier than when I was in school (Carter says they won’t allow him to get salad without dressing or mashed potatoes without gravy), and the best we can come up with is to add unidentified sweeteners to our dairy products?
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.” (emphasis added)
Ah, here’s the great business thinking: consumers are, for the most part, ignorant, therefore they don’t deserve to know what is in their food.
Have we, as a nation, become so ignorant that we have no rights anymore? What about the people who are allergic to aspartame, xylitol, and all of the other “non-nutritive sweeteners” on the market? What about the people who avoid them for other reasons? Let’s disregard the various studies that show that non-nutritive sweeteners can actually increase obesity levels. Oh, wait, we already did.
3. How can we stop this madness? Use your voice! Let your fingers do the talking. Go submit a comment and let the government know how you feel.
I’m going to wait a few days, and take some time while at school to gather some scientific journal articles before I send in my comment. There is an option to upload files.
Quotes were taken The Federal Register, The Daily Journal of the United States government. Retrieved March 2, 2013 from: from https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/20/2013-03835/flavored-milk-petition-to-amend-the-standard-of-identity-for-milk-and-17-additional-dairy-products