Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Dairy Petition That Should Offend Us

I've been alerted to something that may concern you - and most certainly concerns me.

A February 23rd post published by Activist Post brought to my attention a petition to amend labeling requirements for dairy products that's been filed by the FDA by the International Dairy Foods Association, as well as the National Milk Producers Federation.

This time it's not about GMOs.

Rather, the dairy industry is asking to be allowed to place non-nutritive sweeteners in our milk (as well as 17 other dairy products) without mentioning them on the label.  This all basically has to do with a section of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 that allows sugar to be added to milk without adding it to the label.  We don't recognize milk, even flavored milk, as having any added sweeteners, anyway, right?

Wait... we do?  

Huh.  The petitioners don't seem to think so...

"Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk—including flavored milk—as necessarily containing sugar. "

Besides, kids push aside anything that has words like 'reduced-calorie' or 'diet' on the label.  If these words are used, kids won't drink chocolate milk in school.

"However, IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as “reduced calorie” are not attractive to children, and maintain 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, wait... if they hate regular milk, and won't drink chocolate milk, since it's the reduced sugar kind and the soda vending machines are gone in most schools,... then they may have to drink WATER.

The horror!!!

Ok, but seriously.  It gets better.

See, hiding what's in our milk means that we'll be better able to evaluate the nutritional qualities of our food.  Hiding information makes for more honest communication.  No... it's true!  They say it themselves!

"Finally, IDFA and NMPF argue that the proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace and are therefore appropriate under section 401 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 341)."


"Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”"

But, hey... What do I know?  Maybe subterfuge does promote honesty.  Perhaps hiding ingredients does help people identify nutritional properties in food.

And perhaps I live on Atlantis and have every last one of my needs met by mermaids who hang on my every last word, worshiping the ground I walk on.

Yeah, I don't think so, either.

There's a public comment period that lasts until May 21, 2013.  That gives us about 2 months...

But don't wait, because let's face it.  We'll forget if we put it off, and that would be tragic.

The way I read it, it seems that the IDFA and NMPF think we're stupid.  I could be wrong, but when you claim that we don't realize that some type of sugar goes into flavored beverages, and that removing important ingredients from a label will help us better understand what's inside, I call bull****.

Don't wait.

Read the petition for yourself, then submit your commentary.

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