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:
Flavored Milk; Petition to Amend the Standard of Identity for Milk and 17 Additional Dairy Products
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 Several studies have shown aspartame’s link to cancer, but they have not been peer reviewed nor duplicated.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.
Please share this with your Twitter Friends.
I came across this article from a friend on FB. It is very misleading, I would love to read a response about it and have real dairy farmers aware of this misinformation.
After reading the link you posted I came to the same conclusion you did. It will be in the ingredients, just not listed on the front of the label…and not have a “marketing” name like “diet/light/reduced calorie”.
Biased articles like this give good Ag organizations a bad name, and give Yahoo “news” less credibility.
Thanks for heads up! I have been commenting over at Huffington Post and Delish. I will have to swing by the Yahoo article too.
Great comments on Dairy Carries blog. I don’t think we will be able to produce enough organic milk if conventional milk starts putting aspartame in their products. Consumers must be treated with respect, and not put down if they are confused by such a confusing ploy. keep up the positive posts. JB
Thanks Joe! I totally agree on treating our customers with respect.