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Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Urges FDA: Reject Petition to Alter the Standard of Identity of Milk

2013-05-21

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges the Food and Drug Administration to "keep milk milk" and reject an industry petition to amend the standard of identity of milk and milk products.

The petition, submitted by the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, seeks to allow artificial sweeteners to be included in flavored milk and milk products as standard ingredients. If accepted, front-of-package labels for flavored milk products would bear no indication that artificial sweeteners had been added. Instead, consumers would have to read the ingredient list and recognize non-nutritive sweeteners by their scientific name to decipher if they had been included in the product.

The Academy has submitted comments to the FDA stating that the petition fails to cite requisite convincing, 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," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Ethan A. Bergman. "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."

In its comments to the FDA, the Academy suggested the current standard of flavored milk is effective in encouraging milk consumption by school-aged children to improve calcium intake and bone health. Studies have shown school-aged children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs, do not consume more added sugar, fat or calories, and are similar in weight to non-milk drinkers.

"The Academy's recommendation to deny the petition is not based on the safety of artificial sweeteners," noted Bergman. "Consumers can enjoy a range of nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed within a healthful eating plan."

If the FDA moves forward with the petition, the Academy urges that consumers be able to easily see on the front of the package whether flavored milk includes any non-nutritive sweeteners.

Read the Academy's Comments to the FDA.

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All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy’s Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.