What's New: Aspartame in Milk?
A push to get the FDA to allow chemical sweeteners in dairy products
We like to celebrate the occasional gratuitous kitchen product or cooking tool splurge with "What's New," but sometimes food news pops up that seems important (or bizarre) enough to share.
And since so many of us drink milk (good job, Milk ads
), we figured this might be one of them. An article posted on Delish.com
describes recent efforts by the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Association to get the federal government to allow “any safe and suitable” sweetener into milk and “17 other dairy products.” And they don’t seem to want you to know about it.
Milk Bottle image via Shutterstock
Not that they’re trying to spike your 2% with gratuitous Equal. In fact, the petition is really aimed at kids. It seeks to change the current milk standard to allow for “characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk”—those add-ins that make milk seem tastier, chocolatier, maybe even a bit cooler—“to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener—including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame.”
We’re not trying to reject artificial sweeteners outright (full confession: the office is ridiculously well stocked with Splenda). But the implication that aspartame and its chemical ilk are 100% safe, and that we’ve all agreed and high-fived on this, is a bit bold. Then again, Cancer.org seems to say
aspartame is (so far) proven harmless.
Bolder still might be the claim that “the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating habits and, ultimately, reduce childhood obesity." Maybe it's more ironic than bold, since the IDFA and NMPF don't actually want to advertise “reduced calorie” on product labels, likely becauase it’ll scare kids away faster than the Boogey man with a fistful of Brussels sprouts.
But how can school-age children known they’re making a “healthy choice” if that choice isn’t stated outright? If it’s effectively hidden from them—and their parents? Clearly there are some questions to answer, and no doubt a lot to be said. The good news: the FDA is accepting public comment
until May 21, 2013. Many people have already weighed in
—apparently tending towards the “hell no” side of the question. But there’s still time for debate. What’s your take? Tell us, or them, and be a part of the process. After all, the results could end up in your next bowl of bran flakes.
Mentioned in this article