There is quite a bit of news going around about “Big Dairy” trying to petition the FDA to hide aspartame in milk. You can read the petition:
This is what the petition is trying to do. The FDA already approves of aspartame. Some in the dairy industry would like to have the identity of milk preserved when a non nutritive sweetener is added. Huh? Okay, right now if a dairy company wants to call their chocolate milk “milk” they have to use nutritive (real) sweeteners like sugar. If they use aspartame they are no longer able to call it “milk”; instead it has to be labeled “beverage, shake, etc.” There is more to the petition than just aspartame, but aspartame seems to be the stickler right now.
So why would some in the dairy industry want this?
With the increase pressure to reduce calories in all foods served during school lunch, adding aspartame makes sense. BUT many question the safety of aspartame. Several studies have shown aspartame’s link to cancer, but they have not been peer reviewed nor duplicated.
Is aspartame approved in organic milk?
Aspartame is not approved for organic milk. The USDA has a complete list of non organic substances allowed and aspartame is not on the list for organic approval.
I pulled this ingredients list off of the Organic Valley website. No aspartame in Organic Valley’s chocolate milk, nor will there be if the petition is approved by the FDA.
Will aspartame have to be labeled?
This is where I am a little fuzzy, but after reading the entire petition, it seems to me that they just want to exclude the nutrition claims that are currently required “reduced calories, etc.” Again, this is where I might be a little off. The FDA’s website is awful when it comes to answering questions. After reading as much as I could, it seems aspartame still needs to be included in the ingredients’ list. Remember aspartame is already an approved ingredient.
Right now the FDA is taking comments on this petition. You can make your thoughts heard on the labeling of milk until May 21, 2013. http://www.regulations.gov.
Please remember that aspartame is NOT approved in organic milk.
If I have any of this wrong, please let me know and I will make the corrections. Like I said it is really hard to find good information out there on this topic.
Also note that this topic isn’t new. I blogged about Neotame (aspartame) back in 2011.
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