Proposed redefinition of 'milk' spells trouble


A problem is looming that requires our attention.

We all want the best for our children. Yes, many children are overweight. But we must not allow our government to try to solve this problem.

We have had sufficient experience to know that government solutions are not always best.

I have just been apprised of an article in the Federal Register that our government is now considering amending standards of identity for milk and dairy products by allowing them to use any “safe and suitable sweetener” in our milk and 17 other dairy products.

Here is the summary as stated in the Federal Register:

“The Food and Drug Administration is announcing that the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation have filed a petition requesting that the agency amend the standard of identity for milk and 17 other dairy products to provide for the use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient.”

Let us point out just two problems with this intended rule-making.

First, the industry groups presume to tell us which sweeteners are safe and suitable.

Second, once this door is opened, how are we to stop producers from adding anything they want to our foods?

In the 1960s the FDA allowed the use of a sweeteners cyclamates to be used to sweeten foods and drinks. Cyclamates were used for more than 20 years before research found it caused cancer and birth defects. For 20 yeas we were a nation of guinea pigs.

You’ve read in my columns about the chemicals and hormones still being used in our food.

Do we really want the government to determine what can be added to good wholesome food by their discretion, especially when they have bungled so much already?

Equally important is that they want to do this and not require these ingredients to be listed on the package. Will they then want to change the content of butter and other products to conform to their standards?

This proposal will allow them to change any dairy product.

Knowing what we know from past experience, we simply should not trust them.

If you are in the least concerned, the time for action is now that they are requesting comments.

You can read the full notice at

Otherwise here are some excerpts that we have gleaned from their published proposal:

“… to allow optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk (e.g., chocolate flavoring added to milk) to be sweetened with any safe and suitable sweetener — including non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame.”

“… would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school.”

“… to limit the quantity of sugar served to children during the school day.”

“… 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.”

“… milk manufacturers could use non-nutritive sweeteners in flavored milk without a nutrient content claim in its labeling.”

I assure you I am in no way encouraging sugar for children, but this is certainly not the way to control it.

I urge you to write the FDA and let the agency know how you feel about this industry proposal.

The address is Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Retired chiropractic doctor Francis Trapani’s background includes active practice for 41 years; investigative reporting for many years on stations KTRG and KPOI on Hawaii radio and exercise/fitness yoga TV broadcasts on channel KHVH, also in Hawaii. He has written three books and is working on a fourth; a yoga self-help manual “The Doctor Prescribes Yoga.” For more information, go to


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