To better understand this misinformation, we need to back-up a bit. The National Milk Producers Association (NMPF) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed a petition on March 16, 2009 with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). The purpose of the petition is to allow milk processors the opportunity to use safe and suitable sweeteners to reduce the overall caloric content in milk, while still allowing it to be labeled “milk.” This request was made to create flavored milk with reduced calories. The FDA approved the use of acceptable sugar alternatives, including aspartame, at that time. All food products that include non-nutritive sweeteners as an ingredient must be clearly labeled and include the sweetener on the package’s ingredient statement as required by the FDA’s labeling regulations.
To read the flavored milk petition, click here.
What does all this mean? The "confused misconceptions" I referred to earlier in this post is that some consumers believe that dairy processors want to deceive consumers by not listing artificial sweeteners on the ingredient label. This is not true. Dairy Processors follow the FDA labeling regulation. Dairy processors concern about labeling is that they want artificially sweetened flavored milk to be called Milk; not "low calorie milk," or "low sugar milk," or "beverage," or "drink", for example, but would prefer it say "Milk". Dairy processors are not disputing that artificial sweeteners need to be listed in the ingredients.
Additional thoughts I want to share-
- White milk DOES NOT contain sweeteners. I invite you to check the label on the milk jug in your refrigerator right now.
- When natural or artificial sweeteners are added to flavored milk, they MUST be included on the package ingredient label, which the dairy industry has always done. I have family members with food allergies (not related to dairy foods) but I understand the importance of having all ingredients listed on product labeling. As a consumer, we have the right to know!
- All milk, white or flavored, provides you with 9 essential nutrients, including calcium which nourishes your body and your bones. So choose whatever suits your taste buds!
- As a dairy farmer and a milk consumer, we at Bremer Farms are committed to producing dairy foods that we are proud to serve to our family and yours!