And in our profit-driven world, that is an issue that the dairy industry is clamoring to remedy.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) petitioned the FDA to amend the "standard of identity" for milk and 17 other dairy products. [RELATED: Keep up with the latest FDA headlines at FDA.news]
Why? So they could use any kind of approved sweetener, including artificial sweeteners like aspartame, without having to indicate that the beverage contained a sugar substitute on the label.
Items that contain artificial sweeteners or other ingredients to reduce their calorie counts are required by the state to indicate that they are "reduced calorie" on the label. According to the IDFA and NMPF, this label is a turn off for many consumers. Perhaps this is because many people try to avoid consuming artificial sweeteners?
Regardless, their deceitful proposal would remove the tell-tale phrase from the products' labels, but it would not impact the actual ingredient list. However, that means one would have to inspect the ingredient list on every milk bottle they purchase to ensure no undesirable ingredients are present. [RELATED: Learn more about what's hiding in your food at Ingredients.news]
How many people would actually do this, and how many would actually be aware that they had to? The industry relies on consumer ignorance to sell products; a proposal such as this clearly demonstrates that. They are trying to fool people into buying milk sweetened with a chemical they would otherwise avoid.
How is this even being considered as a possibility? Americans have the right to know what is in their food, and industries like Big Dairy do not have the right to be deceitful. Many other products would still be subject to bearing the "reduced calorie" label -- why should they get a pass? There is no reason for milk, or any other food stuff, to lie about what it contains -- especially when it contains harmful chemicals like aspartame.
Aspartame has been the subject of immense scrutiny for quite some time. In 1996, a study published by The Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology posited, "Compared to other environmental factors putatively linked to brain tumors, the artificial sweetener aspartame is a promising candidate to explain the recent increase in incidence and degree of malignancy of brain tumors."
The research team, from Washington University Medical School, noted that at that time, evidence that potentially indicated aspartame as a cause of brain tumors included an animal study that revealed an "exceedingly high incidence of brain tumors" in rats that had been fed aspartame, compared to no brain tumors at all in the concurrent control group. The team states that aspartame was introduced into the US food and beverage market just a few short years prior to the drastic increase in brain tumor incidence and malignancy around the country.
In their conclusion, the researchers stated, "We conclude that there is need for reassessing the carcinogenic potential of aspartame." That was just over two decades ago.
Research has continued to demonstrate that aspartame poses a threat to overall health and can be especially harmful to the brain. A more recent study, published in 2007 found that exposure to aspartame over the course of rodents' lifespans greatly increased the incidence of lymphomas and leukemias in both male and female rats. Female rats exposed to aspartame also exhibited an increased incidence of mammary cancer. The team concluded, "The results of this carcinogenicity bioassay confirm and reinforce the first experimental demonstration of [aspartame's] multipotential carcinogenicity at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake for humans." The team also noted that when exposure began during fetal life, the carcinogenic effects were amplified.
Several researchers from that study went on to publish a report in 2014, entitled, "The carcinogenic effects of aspartame: The urgent need for regulatory re-evaluation." In that report, the team discussed the increasing evidence of aspartame's toxic and carcinogenic nature.
In the abstract, the researchers concluded, "On the basis of the evidence of the potential carcinogenic effects of [aspartame] herein reported, a re-evaluation of the current position of international regulatory agencies must be considered an urgent matter of public health."
And this is what the dairy industry wants to put in milk, to trick children into drinking it?