The milk industry in the U.S. wants to increase its sales by adding aspartame to its milk, with the primary target being the lunchrooms in schools across the country.
Sales of milk have been dropping for many decades, but the milk industry might soon be given a new weapon to counter that trend: mix of product labeling, school lunches and aspartame.
It has taken nearly four years to reach this point for the milk industry. In 2009, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producer Federation filed a federal petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to request the approval to use aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener that is used in products like Equal and Diet Coke, in their milk. However, the trade groups wanted to refrain from needing to change how the product would be labeled.
The FDA has now published the request and put it up to receive public comment and it has gained attention nationwide. Some joked the plan would lead to the use of diet milk, but that is not what the diary industry needs or wants. The trade groups have petitioned for milk that is flavored to contain aspartame and that the label just says milk and not something like low-cal milk.
The trade groups say their goal is to counteract obesity in children, but the petition also explains candidly that it aims to increase the amount of milk that is consumed. Millions of children consume millions of gallons of milk each year in school, but that same consumption is falling, according to an IDFA spokesperson. The trade group’s hope is that the addition of aspartame will reverse that decline.