Target: US Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Maintain ingredient labeling practices for the dairy industry
Milk and other dairy products are some of the cornerstones of a healthy diet, with benefits ranging from a high protein content to being rich in bone-density building calcium. Recently, however, schools have expressed concern over the high sugar content in chocolate milk, and have started dropping it from their menus altogether in an effort to support healthy diet choices for students. Facing declining sales, the dairy industry is planning to replace the sugar in chocolate milk with aspartame, a non-caloric sweetener.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration strictly regulates food labeling in the cases of what is known as a “statement of identity.” What this means is that if you are calling a product “milk,” it has to be just milk and nothing else. The dairy industry, in hopes of perpetuating their latest endeavor to compete with diet sodas and other low-calorie drinks in schools, has petitioned the FDA to exempt them from this labeling regulation. The argument is that by calling chocolate milk made with aspartame “low-calorie” (a widely-recognizable indicator that a product contains an artificial sweetener), it would dissuade children from buying it and adversely affect their sales.
Aspartame has been long suspected of psychological effects such as depression, irritability, insomnia, aggression and anxiety, along with physical side effects that range from decreased vision to abdominal pain and even seizures. With so many dangerous and even as yet unknown side effects, it is important that the FDA maintains its strict labeling practice that forces companies to indicate the use of an artificial sweetener, for the safety of consumers. The dairy industry should be no exception.
Dear Food and Drug Administration,
The strict enforcement of labeling practices is the responsibility of your office. The citizens of the United States count on you to regulate and enforce strict standards to maintain the health and well-being of ourselves and our children. For this reason, you cannot allow the dairy industry to mislabel additives in their products.
The use of the artificial sweeteners is widely considered by the scientific community to be harmful. With so many dangerous possible side effects, it is important that consumers are fully aware that products contain aspartame and other artificial sweeteners before choosing to consume them.
Please continue to hold all food producers to your highest standards and do not allow the dairy industry to make themselves an exception.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Liz West via Flickr