|TRUE: Dairy groups are petitioning the FDA to allow the use of artificial sweeteners in milk without having to label the milk as "reduced calorie" or "reduced sugar."|
|FALSE: Dairy groups are petitioning the FDA to allow them to add aspartame to milk and not include it in the ingredients list.|
Example: [Collected via e-mail, February 2013]
Origins: Back on 16 March 2009, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) jointly submitted a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting that the FDA "amend the standard of identity for milk" to allow the use of "any safe and
What this means is not, as has commonly been claimed, that the dairy industry is seeking permission to add artificial sweeteners to milk (they can already do that), or that they are attempting to change the rules so that they don't have to disclose the presence of artificial sweeteners in the ingredients listing on milk containers. What these groups are requesting is that they be allowed to sell milk which includes artificial sweeteners without being required to include prominent front label notices on the packaging describing the product as "reduced calorie" or "reduced sugar."
The petitioners argue, in part, that "lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children," and that the use of artificial sweeteners in milk should be allowed without the need to include labeling information identifying that milk as "reduced sugar" or "reduced calorie" because "claims such as 'reduced calorie' are not attractive to children":
[M]ilk may contain a characterizing flavor that is sweetened with a non-nutritive sweetener if the food's label bears a nutrient content claim (e.g., "reduced calorie") and the
However, 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
The FDA has not yet ruled on the petition: on
The petition has been met with public opposition from those who believe artificial sweeteners to be unhealthful and those who believe that vendors of milk (and other products) should not be allowed to include such ingredients in their products while obscuring the presence of those ingredients through changes in FDA labeling requirements.
(Claims about the safety of aspartame are covered in another article on this site.)
Last updated: 26 February 2013