CAN MILK SWEETENED WITH ASPARTAME STILL BE CALLED MILK?
March 06, 2013
Morgan Barnett, 7, drinks from containers of 1
percent milk and chocolate milk during lunch at a school in St. Paul,
Minn., in 2006.
The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk's nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.
Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.
So how can milk — especially school kids' favorite, chocolate milk
— compete in the low-cal arena? The dairy industry has a strategy: Swap
the sugar that's added to flavored milks for a zero-calorie sweetener
such as aspartame (or other options such as plant-based stevia).
in order to pull this off, the dairy industry has some regulatory hoops
to jump through. Currently, if dairy producers want to add an
artificial or no-cal sweetener, the resulting beverage is no longer
allowed to be called milk (it wouldn't meet the FDA's technical
definition of milk).
So the dairy industry is petitioning
the Food and Drug Administration to change the standard of what
qualifies as milk. The industry wants the iconic MILK label to remain on
the front of the package, without any mention of the reduced calories —
or the added artificial sweeteners (at least, not on the front label).
And the FDA has opened up this petition for public comment.
"Kids don't like the term 'low-calorie,' " says Greg Miller of the National Dairy Council. "It's a turnoff."
Some school districts have banned flavored milk because of the high-calorie content. And some studies
suggest that when you take chocolate milk out of schools, consumption
of milk declines. During a phone interview, Miller told The Salt that
the industry's petition is aimed at offering school districts a
lower-calorie milk option that kids will actually want to drink.
says the petition does not seek to change existing regulations that
require added sweeteners (such as aspartame or stevia) to be named in
the list of ingredients — usually found on the back of a container.
"We are not trying to be sneaky," Miller says.
But so far, lots of folks seem skeptical of the plan.
More than 90,000 people have joined a new online petition organized by SumOfUs.org, a consumer advocacy group, opposing the dairy industry's petition.
And nutrition experts are weighing in, too, including Barry Popkin
of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has studied the
links between sugary drinks and obesity. If the goal is to reduce the
amount of calories that kids get from sweetened beverages, then removing
sugar from flavored milk is one option, he says.
option is flavored (milk) with diet (sweetener) vs. regular sugar, then
diet (sweetener) is favored," he wrote to us in an email.
he says there's no evidence that kids need flavored milk, such as
chocolate milk. "It has not been shown to increase milk intake," he
says. The dairy industry disagrees.
And the dairy industry's petition is also facing opposition from school food advocates.
"I think it's unconscionable," says school chef Ann Cooper,
who's been working to reform the way kids eat at school. She argues
that parents and students will have a hard time discerning what's in the
"This is nothing but a marketing ploy by the dairy
industry to support milk sales," Cooper tells The Salt via email. "We
all need to let the USDA know that we oppose 'hiding' ingredients in
milk as a way to increase profits for the dairy industry!"
mom, I understand why parents want to know whether the chocolate milk
their kids are being served at school contains artificial sweeteners
such as aspartame.
And the question lots of parents are asking is one of transparency: Can we really expect kids to read the fine print on the back of the bottle to know what they're getting?
Miller says if school districts were to choose to add a non-caloric
sweetener to chocolate milk, parents would not be left in the dark.
School administrators would likely inform parents of the change by
putting it on menus, websites and newsletters.
What do you think?
ETHICAL DONATORS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS REQUIRED, TO FILL THIS SPACE WITH YOUR POLITICAL SLOGANS, ADVERTISING OFFERS, WEBSITE DETAILS, CHARITY REQUESTS, LECTURE OPPORTUNITIES, EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS,SPIRITUALAND/OR HEALTH ENLIGHTENMENT COURSES.
AS AN IMPORTANT MEMBER OF THE GLOBAL INDEPENDENT MEDIA COMMUNITY,MIKIVERSE HEALTHHONOURABLY REQUESTSYOUR HELP TO KEEP YOUR NEWS,DIVERSE,AND FREE OF CORPORATE, GOVERNMENT SPIN AND CONTROL. FOR MORE INFO ON HOW YOU MAY ASSIST, PLEASE CONTACT: email@example.com