There is a growing need for full disclosure food label laws in the United States. As if consumers did not have enough food related concerns such as food fraud, suspect FDA approvals, false labeling, increased food radiation levels, pesticides, antibiotics, GMO's and "frankenfish", we may now have to add milk and dairy products to the list.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), have filed a petition with the FDA to alter the definition of "milk". They are seeking to change the definition such that it will include potentially dangerous chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose, without the need to list such ingredients on the label. This means that if the petition is approved, when a company lists "milk" on the label, it will automatically include chemical sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose without being specifically listed. Accordingly, if you are among the millions of Americans who choose to avoid such chemical sweeteners because they are potentially dangerous to your health, then you may be unable to do so because they will not be listed on milk labels.
But milk is not the only product that would be affected by this petition, as it includes 17 different dairy products such as yogurt, eggnog, whipping cream and sour cream to name a few. Many have questioned why the dairy industry would even include potentially dangerous chemical sweeteners in dairy products, let alone do so in a secretive manner. Proponents for the IDFA and NMPF state that they are doing this to "save the children", as they claim the use of aspartame in products such as milk will reduce calories. Further, that it is necessary to not specifically label said chemical sweeteners, so that consumers can "more easily identify its overall nutritional value".
It is very difficult for consumers to make educated choices about what food to put in their bodies, if they are not being told what is in the food they are buying. However, this is becoming an increasing and potentially dangerous reality in the absence of full disclosure food label laws. In order to affect a change and have such food label laws passed, consumers have to be proactive. In order to be proactive consumers need to take action such as petitioning politicians, refusing to buy products that are not properly labeled, sending their comments to the FDA when they consider approving petitions like the one currently before it and becoming self-educated and aware. Perhaps that is the real way we can "save the children".
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.