April 3, 2013 — Our Processors’ Perspective this month is with Peggy Armstrong of the International Foods Association. She discusses the facts from a petition asking FDA to allow the use of no-calorie sweeteners in flavored milks:
by Peggy Armstrong, IDFA
Recently there has been a lot of misinformation in the news and online about a petition that IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation filed four years ago with FDA. The petition asks the agency to allow the use of no-calorie sweeteners in flavored milks and sweetened dairy products.
Much of this incorrect information is being driven by anti-artificial-sweetener activists, who are scaring consumers by saying that the dairy industry wants to add no-calorie sweeteners to white milk and to “hide” the use of a no-calorie sweetener by not including it on the label. Neither statement is true.
IDFA has been working with National Milk to allay consumer fears, and here are he facts about the petition:
First, the industry is asking FDA to allow “safe and suitable sweeteners” as an option to help reduce the calories and carbohydrates in chocolate and other flavored milks. This would offer an additional choice for consumers who want a lower-calorie flavored milk — and could level the playing field with competitive beverages that are allowed to use the sweeteners.
Second, all ingredients would still be listed on the label.
Third, and most importantly, all milk provides 9 essential nutrients that are important to health and wellness. Most Americans fall short of the recommended servings of milk each day. FDA allowing dairy companies to offer new, innovative choices in the dairy aisle may be one way to help address the issue.
We know that many of you are getting questions about the petition and we want to reassure you that it would not affect white milk.
We will continue to engaging in the media, and provide industry members with facts they can use to discuss the petition. This week IDFA’s Cary Frye, and registered dietitian Keith Ayoob appeared on a segment of the Dr. Oz Show to talk about the petition and to reinforce all of the health benefits of milk.
More information on the petition is available from IDFA and National Milk.