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Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally got around to acknowledging a 2009 petition regarding the requirement to label milk as “artificially sweetened” when the milk contains a sweetener like aspartame. The petition, started by International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation asks that no label be required if aspartame is added to milk. They have also requested that the FDA similarly amend standards associated with 17 other milk and cream products. IDFA and NMPF state that if the FDA allows milk to be sweetened with “any safe and suitable sweetener—including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame” that it will “Promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products.” FDA asked for consumer comments to be submitted about this issue and that’s exactly what happened — to an excessive degree. Many have left comments on the petition, from calm statements such as, ” I have been a milk consumer for many years, and also love my dairy, how dare you try to add aspartame to it” to the more extreme, “How would you like it if I sold milk to you and your children and without telling you and added macerated cow testicles because I believed it would enhance your calcium intake.” Further, there’s already a counter petition in place opposing aspartame in milk, by Sum Of Us, that has accumulated 96,745 signatures to date… and counting. Read on to learn how you can chime in on this debate, and vote on this issue in our poll below.
Sum of Us notes that both the dairy industry and the FDA’s “Goal is to turn the wholesome drink into another artificial flavor-laden sweet snack.” Not a good plan considering how much sweet stuff kids get nowadays. Plus, some research says aspartame poses a danger (the artificial sweetener is linked to leukemia and lymphoma). Other research and organizations, including the American Cancer Society, say it’s just fine. Danger or not, it’s probably safer to skip artificial sweeteners so that kids can learn what real food tastes like.