The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association have filed a petition with the FDA. The petition requests that the FDA “amend the standard of identity” for milk, along with 17 other dairy products. The request is an attempt to provide for the use of any suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient. In other words, the agencies want to be able to use non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame in their products, without having to indicate the ingredient on the label.
If this amendment goes through, the word “milk” on any label could include aspartame, sucralose or any other dangerous artificial sweetener.
The Dangers Of Aspartame
Aspartame is one of the most common sugar alternatives. It’s also one of the most dangerous. Contrary to popular belief, artificial sweeteners are not healthier than natural sugars. They are created to taste sweeter with less calories, but regularly consuming artificial sweeteners comes with many health risks.
Aspartame was first introduced in 1980. Today, it’s a regular ingredient in diet soda. Studies have linked the sweetener with seizures, headaches, depression, ADD, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer. An extensive study on aspartame confirmed a link between the sweetener and leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation have their reasons for the request. They claim that the proposed amendment would “promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products.” They base their request off of the fact that many children are more inclined to drink flavored milk products rather than unflavored milk.
They also argue that the proposed amendment would “promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace.” Which, of course, doesn’t make sense when you consider they are asking the FDA to alter the definition of milk to include artificial sweeteners.
Not exactly honest, right?
If you’re having a hard time following, this might help. Did you know that the FDA already allows the dairy industry to use the unmodified milk label for products that contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup? So currently, artificial sweeteners can be added, but they must be listed on the label. The IDFA and the NMPF claim that no extra labeling should be required for artificial sweeteners because “the modified food is not inferior in performance.” They also argue that “reduced calories are not attractive to children.”
Sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup can be added without being listed as an ingredient. Because of this, these agencies believe the public “doesn’t recognize” that milk products contain sugar. According to their logic, specifying that aspartame or another artificial sweetener is in the product will confuse customers. So, hiding all of the added sweeteners if the best way to “promote honesty.”
Considering the dangerous threat that aspartame can pose to your health, you probably want to avoid it. But in order to avoid it, you have to know what food products contain the deadly sweetener. Thus, the importance of honest labels.