Despite the ever-increasing evidence that artificial sweeteners are harmful (especially for a child’s developing body and brain), the milk industry has asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for permission to include artificial sweeteners in milk products (flavored milks, such as chocolate or strawberry).
Underneath it all, the milk industry’s motive is to improve its marketing and sales. Such a move by the milk industry is designed to improve sales through a controversial marketing tactic – aimed at children making breakfast and lunch selections in school cafeterias. The public only has until May 21, 2013 to comment on this matter by going to the FDA’s Regulations.gov page .
While there are many claims currently being made online about the dairy industry move, these are the facts.
(1) The position of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federal (NMPF) is that a “reduced calorie” or “lower sugar” label on the front of their milk products discourages kids from drinking milk because those labels don’t appeal to kids. Without a “lower calorie” label on the milk products, the IDFA and NMPF believe their products will be on a more level playing field with other drinks that do not require a separate label for alternative sweeteners (such as sports and energy drinks).
(2) “As the pressure on sugar increases, companies want to get in on federal funds for school meals, WIC, et cetera,” says Marion Nestle, PhD, MPH, Paulette Goddard Professor in the department of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University. “It’s an act of desperation. Sales are falling and they are looking for ways to attract more buyers. Sweet does it. But not if it has calories.”
(3) Artificial sweeteners, also known as non-nutritive sweeteners, have been linked in several studies to cancer, kidney damage, depression and more.
(4) Artificial sweeteners can contain allergens. Milk products with artificial sweeteners – if not properly labeled – can result in children with allergies consuming milk containing those allergens, without knowing it.
(5) There is still time to stop all this from happening. Before May 21, 2013, go to the FDA’s Regulations.gov page  and submit your comments on their proposed rule of: Flavored Milk; Petition to Amend the Standard of Identity for Milk and 17 Additional Dairy Products.