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Artificial sweeteners in milk and how it's labelled

The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation are trying to get FDA to allow them to add aspartame, an artificial sweetener, to flavored milks without having to label the product as “reduced sugar” or “reduced calorie”  on the front of the package.  Any ingredients added, including artificial sweeteners, will still be included in the ingredients list on the back of the product.

The reason for this request, according to the above companies, is that when products are labeled on the front as being lower in calories or sugar, kids are less likely to choose them.  Many kids and teens already consume unhealthy high-sugar and high-calorie beverages in place of milk.  Milk companies are afraid that such a label, as currently required by FDA, would cause an even further reduction in consumption of milk.

Dairy products, including milk, are one of the most bioavailable sources of calcium and potassium in the typical American diet.  It is crucial that kids get adequate calcium as they are growing.   

Is it better to substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar in flavored milks?  Aspartame can be consumed in relatively large amounts before it is considered unsafe, but many still are sensitive to aspartame or would rather use products made with real sugar versus something artificial.

If you have an opinion, you can voice it to the FDA until May 21, 2013.


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