Dairy industry petitions to make milk labeling MUCH more confusing.
You go to the supermarket and pick up a carton of milk from the many that are available, you trust that the product inside is represented by the label on the outside, but this is all set to change.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition to change milk labeling laws that would allow them to include artificial sweeteners such as aspartame in their products and it would NOT be compulsory for it to be printed on the label.
To anyone who buys milk regularly, and most people do, this will undoubtedly cause a lot of confusion over what exactly is in the product you are buying and will no doubt lead to people unwittingly ingesting chemicals that they thought they were abstaining from.
While the move seems totally bizarre, the milk industry have their own albeit tenuous reasoning.
They state that the change would:
“promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products”
Their reason being that children these days are so averse to consuming anything that is just natural and good for them, that they have to be duped into it. They have stated that children are more likely to drink milk products that have been sweetened, either naturally or unnaturally, like with aspartame.
“[T]he proposed amendments would assist in meeting several initiatives aimed at improving the nutrition and health profile of food served in the nation’s schools. Those initiatives include state-level programs designed to limit the quantity of sugar served to children during the school day.”
The problem with the proposed change is the dangers of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. Although it is still widely used in many diet foods and beverages, there is growing concern about the health implications of the chemical sweetener.
Recent research shows that aspartame has been linked to health conditions such as obesity, dizziness, and digestive problems, and even more serious conditions such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease and even Alzheimer’s.
Changing labeling laws does make it harder for people to make informed decisions when they are shopping, and leads to confusion surrounding certain products. Not everyone has the means or the ability to work out for themselves what the nutritional information means and often trust what the general idea of the packaging is presenting to them.
The IDFA and NMPF state that:
“consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims.”
But ultimately the move will only serve to muddy the waters between what milk companies can get away with selling under the guise of a ‘healthy’ product.