CHICAGO, May 22 (UPI) -- Nutritionists are urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reject a milk industry petition to drop artificial sweeteners from front labels on containers.
The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation submitted a petition to the federal government seeking to allow artificial sweeteners to be included in flavored milk and milk products as standard ingredients -- meaning the sweeteners are not included in the front label.
If the FDA accepts the change, the front-of-package labels for flavored milk products would bear no indication artificial sweeteners have been added. Instead, consumers would have to read the ingredients list and recognize non-nutritive sweeteners by their scientific name to decipher if they are included in the product, the academy said.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics submitted comments to the FDA stating the petition failed to cite "sound scientific or factual data showing the recommended standard of identity revisions will promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers" as required under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
"The petition largely focuses on the perceived benefits to children of revising milk's standard of identity, including the assertion that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity," Ethan A. Bergman, a registered dietitian nutritionist and academy president, said in a statement.
"However, there is a lack of evidence to substantiate those claims. In addition, flavored milk is not a major source of added sugar in children's diets."
The academy suggested the current standard of flavored milk is effective in encouraging milk consumption by school-age children to improve calcium intake and bone health.