Because I don’t think you can call it “milk” any more, especially if the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have their way. You see, these two organizations are petitioning the FDA to allow aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to be added to milk and other dairy products without a label.
Without going into the debacle that is food labeling (that’s a whole ‘nother post), why on earth would anyone want to add artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame, to milk? Well, according to IDFA and NMPF, “aspartame and other artificial sweeteners would promote healthy eating and is good for school children.”
Just let that sink in for a minute.
Good for school children.
Despite the claims of both the manufacturer of aspartame (would it surprise you to learn that between 1985 and 2000, that honor went to Monsanto?) and the Food and Drug Administration that the “non-nutritive sweetener” is harmless, there is a huge body of anecdotal evidence that says otherwise (something the FDA doesn’t deny).
There are over 92 different side effects associated with aspartame consumption, which can lead to a number of health problems. Among these are:
- Loss of hearing
- Numbness of the extremeties
- Heart palpitations
- Hair Loss
Those are just the mild effects; there have been claims of brain damage, birth defects, and even death. And now these organizations are petitioning the government “to amend the standard of identification for milk, cream, and 17 other dairy products like yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and others to provide for the use of any ‘safe and suitable sweetener’ on the market” because it “would promote healthy eating and is good for school children.”
Did you know the European Common Market has banned aspartame in children’s product due to concerns about it’s safety? But here industrial dairy producers and distributors are lobbying to have it added to all milk and milk-based products, without any sort of label indicating it’s there, because by golly, if you make something sweet enough, Americans will swill it down without question.
Normally, I wouldn’t be upset about this; I don’t necessarily agree with labeling, but even if I did I rarely consume anything that has a label. What really peeves me about this is that if this is passed, all the milk kids are served outside of their home, including day care facilities and schools (even private schools often have to adhere to government regulations regarding the food that is served), will contain an ingredient that is A) toxic and B) potentially addictive. School children that are already suffering from attention disorders and autism in rapidly increasing numbers every year.
I’ve got an idea for you, International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation: if you want to encourage the consumption of your products, especially by children, stop taking the fat out of it. You’d be amazed at what it does for the palatability:
Me to The Young One’s Friend: Want some milk?
Friend: Nah, I don’t really like milk.
Me: What kind of milk does your mother buy? Skim?
Me (pouring a glass of non-homogenized, vat-pasteurized, full fat milk): Well, here – try this. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it.
Friend (tasting, then gulping down the entire glass): That was wonderful! What have I been missing?
Me: Real food.
Posted in participation of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday
Edited to add: This appears to only apply to sweetened milk products, such as flavored milks and yogurts (for now). Nor does it mean that aspartame would not be included on the ingredient label, just not prominently. However, it’s still a push to include something that is A) toxic and B) potentially addictive to products marketed to, and consumed in large quantities by, children. And it’s still a bad idea.