90,000 To FDA: No Unlabeled Hyper-Sweeteners in Our Milk


Nearly 90,000 Americans are outraged after last week when, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged a 2009 petition from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation that seeks to drop the FDA requirement to label milk and other dairy products as “artificially sweetened” when they contain sweeteners like aspartame.

For the past three years, the dairy industry has been hoping to sell diet milk under the guise of plain “milk” so that chocolate and strawberry flavored varieties that contain artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame, would no longer need to carry a special label.

In response, nearly 90,000 American consumers have joined a new petition by SumOfUs.org, a global consumer watchdog organization, telling the Food and Drug Administration to stop aspartame from being put in milk products.

“Hyper-sweet additives like aspartame rewire children’s brains so that they always want sugary foods, turning the kids into tiny consumption machines. This constant craving fattens up the food companies’ bottom lines as it fattens up their customers, leading to our current obesity epidemic,” said Kaytee Riek, campaign manager for SumOfUs.org. “For decades, food companies have poured millions into research into creating foods that trick our brain into over-consuming. As obesity has surged and the country has become more health-conscious, the industry has moved into formerly healthy foods, pumping them up with sugar, salt, and fat until they, too become part of the problem.”

The FDA has asked the public to submit data, information and comments related to aspartame and other artificial sweeteners in milk last week. The Food and Drug Administration currently allows the dairy industry use the unmodified “milk” label for unsweetened milk or milk that contains sweeteners with calories, like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Aspartame is used in a range of products, including diet soda and yogurt, and is sold to consumers under the brand-name Equal (which also includes some other ingredients). Some researchers have found that artificial sweeteners alter brain chemistry, making people crave higher-calorie foods, which in turn makes them more prone to obesity and diabetes.

posted by Tiffany Haslacker