Dairy farmers and the dairy industry are committed to producing safe, wholesome milk and dairy foods. That commitment remains as strong as it has ever been.
Erroneous information is being publicized that the dairy industry wants to add zero calorie sweetners to white milk. That is not correct.
What the industry is pursuing is the ability to use zero calorie sweetners in chocolate milk, clearly labeling all ingredients, and still can call it chocolate milk. Chocolate milk continues to be a favorite choice of children; and, in response to obesity concerns, the industry is making efforts to meet reduced calorie requirements for chocolate milk, especially in the school lunch program.
The petition has been misrepresented as an effort to add aspartame without labeling as such.
In fact, the FDA petition would not change any existing requirements that aspartame be included in the list of ingredients on flavored milk, or any other dairy product.
By federal requirement, all ingredients must be listed on package.
Dairy processors name all sweetners they use and will always do so.
But, if they were to use products like stevia, or aspartame, or any sugar substitute in new chocolate milk formulations, an old regulation prevents them from calling it chocolate milk.
The ability to label chocolate milk as such, while flavoring with reduced calorie sweetners to meet childhood nutritional mandates, is the end goal of the dairy industry with regard to this petition.
Fred Lovell, dairy farmer