Thursday, March 7, 2013

Scary Dairy

It’s nothing short of scary. 

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition with the FDA to change the definition of “milk” so that chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose can be used as ingredients in the milk—but not be listed on the label.

This is not necessarily a new agenda, however. The petition was originally filed in 2009, but it’s now being considered by the FDA. If this petition passes, then these hidden ingredients can also find their way into at least 17 other conventional dairy products such as whipping cream, low-fat and non-fat yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, half and half and eggnog. 

The dairy industry’s stance is that adding these artificial sweeteners will promote healthier eating and will make the milk and dairy products more appealing to kids—since milk consumption has slowed among kids and adults alike. 

Presently, the dairy industry can label products as “milk” no matter if they’re sweetened with unhealthy sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or if they’re not sweetened at all.  However, for now at least, aspartame and other chemical sweeteners used in dairy products must be clearly labeled—unless this petition passes. 

Interestingly, the FDA is inviting consumer input on this petition—asking the public to submit comments and/or data concerning the use of artificial sweeteners in dairy foods. If you want to make your comments or data known about this petition, then click here.

As you know, there are numerous health risks associated with chemical sweeteners, including aspartame, which is often used in diet soda and other foods. Here are just a few of the problems with them, including:
  • an increased risk (43 percent in one study) for heart attack and stroke.
  • a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • a higher risk for weight gain.
  • a tendency for kidney trouble.
  • a link to depression.
  • a higher risk for delivery of pre-term babies.

You can read more about the petition here.

There are already so many unhealthy problems associated with conventional dairy. We don’t need any more ill health effects, including  those associated with artificial sweeteners—especially when their addition to the milk will not be clearly communicated on the label to consumers.

Cows are already genetically manipulated; injected with hormones including bovine growth hormone (BGH) and estrogens; are often treated with excessive antibiotics; fed an unnatural diet (usually genetically-modified corn or other grains); are relegated to a confined area and sent to market after only about four or five years—although a cow’s lifespan is usually around 25 years—because they are used up from excessive milking.

The bottom line is that the majority of conventional dairy is already “scary dairy”—a hormone- and antibiotic-laden “liquid” packed with A1 beta casein and lower in important nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins and vitamin A as well as probiotics and enzymes. 

Let’s not allow dairy to become even scarier with artificial sweeteners.