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Is The FDA Really Going To Allow Aspartame To Be Hidden In Dairy Products?

Earlier this week I read a press release with breaking news that the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) along with the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition with the FDA asking them to change the guidelines for dairy product labels.

It appears these groups want the ability to include artificial sweeteners such as aspartame in dairy products WITHOUT listing such additives on the label. No I’m not joking.

If the FDA proceeds with approving this petition the hypocrisy in all of this will be appalling. In today’s post I wanted to fill you in with what’s going on and direct you to where your voice can be heard.

More after the jump…

Why in the heck would the dairy industry be pushing to change the FDA guidelines?

Believe it or not they feel it will be helpful to us, the consumers, if additives such as aspartame are hidden on food labels.

Check this out from the petition:

IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as “reduced calorie” are not attractive to children, and maintain that consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims.

Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk — including flavored milk — as necessarily containing sugar. Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”

And oh yeah by the way this isn’t just for milk. There are 17 products in all listed on the petition including yogurt, sour cream, whipped cream, and others.

I found a link to the petition where you can read it in its entirety if you like.

Petition to Amend the Standard of Identity for Milk and 17 Additional Dairy Products

I can save you the time and give you the scoop right here. It appears that the initiative behind all of this is helping to promote healthier eating habits and reduce obesity rates with children.

Yes, that’s right…let’s help “save the children” by hiding aspartame (which is poison in my humble opinion) in their milk and other dairy products.

Taken right from the petition:

IDFA and NMPF request their proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity to allow optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk (e.g., chocolate flavoring added to milk) to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener—including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame.

IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products.

They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school.

As further support for the petition, IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would assist in meeting several initiatives aimed at improving the nutrition and health profile of food served in the nation’s schools. Those initiatives include state-level programs designed to limit the quantity of sugar served to children during the school day.

Finally, IDFA and NMPF argue that the proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace and are therefore appropriate under section 401 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 341).

Petitions like this are pushed on a regular basis without the general public having a clue for the most part. Think about it, have you heard anything about this on the nightly news? I know I haven’t heard a peep.

Should we be concerned? You betcha.

Industry lobbyists use their power and influence to gain compliance with federal agencies while they figure us “common folk” are asleep or too consumed with what’s happening on Facebook or Twitter to notice.

The good news is social media can be a valuable tool in helping to spread the word on things like this. If you’d like to help get the word out hit the “like” button at the top of this post and/or share on Facebook.

You can also let your voice be heard by commenting on the petition with the following link:

It’s my hope that there’s enough public resistance to this amendment that the FDA decides against it. I’m all about helping to promote healthy eating habits with children and working to combat childhood obesity, but I don’t think this is the way to go about it. Just my opinion.

I find it ironic that the government is increasingly coming down on raw, organic dairy products, which they feel can be a threat to public health, but yet aspartame is somehow safe for consumption and they’re EVEN considering it to be hidden in product labels.

Right now my home state of South Carolina is one of the few states that still permits the limited sale of raw milk, but it’s my understanding that this is being pushed to be banned as we speak. I saw just within the past couple of weeks there was a big hearing on it.

Unless this has already been changed, right now the state still allows the sale of raw milk both on and off the farm (at a farmer’s market) if a permit is obtained. Farmers must also provide retail stores with a warning plaque to be displayed in front of raw milk.

So yeah, we need a WARNING plaque for dairy in its natural state, but let’s go ahead and hide chemical sweeteners in pasteurized (sterile) dairy because that would be “best” for our children.

Personally I don’t drink milk, opting for almond milk or coconut milk instead, but if I did I’d much rather have it raw and unpasteurized.

Seems to me that people drank raw milk for years without much trouble, but somewhere along the line it became a public “health risk.” It’s just a hunch on my part, but I really do believe there’s something to the possible correlation between skyrocketing obesity rates and changes to gut bacteria.

Think about it, we’ve become a society obsessed with sterilizing everything. It attempts to kill off all of the so called “bad bacteria” or shield ourselves against it, we’ve become more vulnerable.

Children and adults alike are more susceptible to everything from the common cold to more serious illnesses. Overall we take too many antibiotics, use too much hand sanitizer, eat too many processed foods, etc.

A mere twenty to thirty years ago you didn’t even hear of things like “leaky gut syndrome,” but now it’s rampant. Let’s face it, the foods we eat and the way we live has changed, and I’m not so sure it’s for the best.

For heaven’s sake let your kids go play in the dirt now and then and don’t rush them to the doctors office for a round of antibiotics every time they get a sniffle. I know I’m getting off track on a rant, but hopefully you see my point here.

Like it or not, this is what’s going down…

The mega-corporations that control food production in this country are forcing genetically modified crops upon the agriculture industry without the average person knowing much about it or having a say so.

We’re told don’t worry this practice is “safe” and have no fear…

It’s in our best interest for hidden additives not to be disclosed on product labels…

Make sure to drink only pasteurized milk or you run the risk of getting sick.

For crying out loud there’s a plan to put caffeine in Cracker Jacks. You get the point. The thing is, do we really feel this is best for the children in this country?

Am I the only one who sees the hypocrisy here when it comes to the “best interest” of public health and well being?

I know we all have lives to live and cant’ be eating exclusively organic foods from the farm or garden, but the more of it we did probably the better. I just think things haven’t moved in our favor with the way we get our nutrition.

Regardless of how the powers that be want to control what we ultimately end up getting at the local grocery store, dang it I think there should be full disclosure with what’s in it and how it was grown or produced. Those facts should NOT be hidden from the public!

And finally, it should be an unalienable right to consume your own raw, natural food, or buy it from someone else who grows it.

That’s just my two cents worth. What say you? Feel free to leave your comments. This is an open forum blog.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides fitness consulting in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. See our success stories from numerous Lowcountry residents then sign up for a no-obligations consultation today.

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