Well, that, if you can get your head around it, is what the US International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) is asking the FDA to let them do.
It is, apparently, all part of trying to combat obesity by improving the nutritional profile (in terms of calories and fat – both of which are now thought to be irrelevant in terms of obesity) of milk products by making them lower fat and lower calorie – but without putting off the children who are to consume them by declaring that they are low cal/low fat….
Amazingly, milk producers are already allowed to add sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup to milk products (milk, yogurts, cream, shakes, ice cream etc) without declaring them. But both sugar and HFCS deliver lots of calories so they want to trade them for sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose etc. But, current regulations say that you have to declare sweeteners on the pack – and doing so, they think, will put off child consumers. Hence their wish to add them without having to declare them. Then ‘consumers will be more easily able to identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavoured with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims’.…. Eeerrrr…….?
If you have the mental energy to try to work your way round this one you can, very bravely, read the proposal here, or you can read Dr Mercola’s take on it here (marginally more comprehensible). I have to say that I sympathise with the latter’s comment at the end of his article:
‘I’m not sure what’s more frustrating here, the fact that the USDA insists on using the flawed theory of calories as a measure of the “healthfulness” of school meals; their misguided insistence on fat free and low fat products to combat obesity; or their ignorant stance on artificial sweeteners.
When combined, what you end up with is a nutritional nightmare. How can anyone believe a fat free, hormone-laced pasteurized milk-like product from cows raised on genetically engineered corn, flavored with artificial flavors, colors and chemical sweeteners might actually do a growing body good?’