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Sweetener approval would stem US school milk consumption decline: IDFA

22 commentsBy Mark Astley , 22-Feb-2013
Last updated on 04-Mar-2013 at 09:18 GMT

Permitting the use “any safe and suitable” sweeteners - including aspartame - in milk flavouring ingredients would help to stem the current milk consumption decline in US schools, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) has claimed.

The IDFA comments follow the ascension of a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-filed citizen petition to the US Federal Register.

The petition in question - filed by the IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in March 2009 - requested an amendment to the standard of identity for milk to allow optional characterising flavouring ingredients used in milk to be sweetened with “any safe and suitable sweetener.”

The IDFA and the NMPF also called on the FDA to modify the standard for 17 other dairy products including evaporated milk, whipping cream, yogurt and sour cream for at the same time for “administrative efficiency.”

The petition was published on the Federal Register wesbite earlier this week. The FDA has also issued a call for comments on the requested amendment.

Commenting on the ascension, the IDFA described the petition as a “direct attempt” to keep flavoured milk products in US schools.

Keep flavoured milk in schools

“The petition was and continues to be a direct attempt to keep flavoured milk in school cafeterias, as federal agencies and consumer groups continue to push for lower-calorie milk and foods on school menus to combat increases in childhood obesity,” said the IDFA.

“The current standard requires processors to use special labelling, such as ‘reduced-calorie chocolate milk’ for milk made with non-nutritive sweeteners. This phrase, according to market research, doesn’t appeal to children and has contributed to the overall decline in milk consumption in schools, the petition states.”

The proposed amendment to the standard would stem this downturn, the IDFA claimed.

“Allowing milk processors to use any ‘safe and suitable’ sweetener in flavoured milk and still label it ‘milk’ would help to stem the drop in consumption, while promoting healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.”

Improve US school nutrition profile

As further support for their 2009 petition, the IDFA and the NMPF also claimed that the proposed amendment would help improve the nutrition and health profile of food served in US schools.

“IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavoured milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavoured milk that unflavoured milk at school,” said the Federal Register notice.

“Those initiatives include state-level programs designed to limit the quantity of sugar served to children during the school day,” said the FDA Federal Register notice.

According to the notice, the IDFA and NMPF also claim that the proposed amendment would “promote honesty and fairy dealing in the marketplace.”

The FDA has called for written and electronic comments by 21 May 2013. Click here to read the document or comment.

22 comments (Comments are now closed)

Not Farmer Supported

Farmers do not support this, just so you know. We have very little say in what the NMPF IDFA promote. They are run by a very few but VERY LARGE farm owners. The aspartame would be added to the flavoring itself, not the milk. There is currently NO additives to ANY regular milk in the store. No corn syrup, no sweetner, only milk plus the vitamins they add back in after processing. If there is any of this listed in the milk you're buying, you are buying a milk "drink" not plain milk. Organic milk will not have ANY additive, plus the cows will not be fed any feed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and will not be given rBst or antibiotics. Organic growers cannot have ANY antibiotics on the farm premises at all. If you are concerned about your milk, at the very least buy organic. Don't deny your family real nutrition.

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Posted by Terri
25 April 2013 | 16h25

Promote honesty and "fairy" dealing in the marketplace?

As a teacher, I see the milk declining as students drink more water--and that is healthy. One of the reasons that milk consumption has declined is that students are becoming more and more suspicious of added ingredients in milk--like high fructose corn sugar, artificial flavors, growth hormone, antibiotics, etc. Now, teachers, parents, and kids are going to be really be suspicious of the dairy industry. Adding aspartame to the school food of children should be considered criminal.
I will never consume milk again because of this. First the corn refiners trying to sneak in "corn sugar" and now the dairy association telling us that consuming aspartame is healthy. The dairy association is going to be the death of milk consumption in this country--and thank goodness for that. Milk is for baby cows--and it used to be natural--but now it's anything but natural. That's why consumption is down--we don't want additives. I'm a teacher--and kids are becoming more and more conscious of additives in foods. They are even asking the science teachers about what "such and such" means on the labels.
Where have all the real foods gone?

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Posted by Windy Daley of Texas
07 April 2013 | 03h25

What about...

What about people with PKU (Phenylketonuria)? If you don't label things, kids will die.

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Posted by Rebecca
12 March 2013 | 20h36

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