While shopping at a specialty market this afternoon, I encountered a display for local milk. The woman in charge was very friendly, explaining that the milk was from a farm a few miles away, the store gets deliveries of it on Fridays so you know it’s fresh, the cows are grass fed, they don’t add preservatives or vitamins, so on and so forth. I stayed and listened, but most people walked right past her–“crazy hippie lady” I heard one guy mutter.
However, after finding out that the FDA has acknowledged a 2009 petition from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation that seeks to drop the FDA requirement to label milk and other dairy products as “artificially sweetened” when they contain sweeteners such as aspartame, perhaps they should have listened to her and bought some of her milk and apple juice.
The FDA currently lets the dairy industry use the unmodified “milk” label for unsweetened milk or milk that contains sweeteners with calories, like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. This means that for the past three years, The dairy industry has been hoping to sell you “diet milk” under the guise of just plain “milk,” so that chocolate and strawberry varieties that contain artificial sweeteners would no longer need to carry a special label.
Doesn’t that sound horrifying? Artificial sweeteners are added in so many things already, but why is there a need to put them in milk? Oh, I know why–some researchers have found that artificial sweeteners alter people’s brain chemistry, making them crave higher-calorie foods, which in turn makes them more prone to obesity and diabetes. Some artificial sweeteners are even added to products to give them a longer shelf life–ick! The dairy industry claims that by allowing artificial sweeteners in milk, that they’re offering the public a healthier beverage choice. Really? A product linked to obesity, diabetes, and even cancer is going to help make milk a healthy beverage choice? How does that work?
So, for all you LivLunatics that aren’t dairy free–are you going to keep buying milk with labels, or do you plan to switch to local or organic? Are you completely turned off by the whole deal?