The industry petition on non-nutritive sweeteners for milk and other sweetened dairy products has garnered a significant amount of consumer and media interest since it was published for comment in February. On Monday, IDFA Vice President Cary Frye appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, a nationally syndicated daytime television program, to present the industry’s position and reassure consumers that all dairy products would continue to communicate ingredients clearly on the ingredients label.
The petition, filed four years ago by IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation, asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow safe and suitable sweeteners as an option other than sugar to reduce the calories and carbohydrates in flavored milk and 17 other sweetened dairy products. Allowing the use of FDA-approved sweeteners in flavored milk and other products would allow consumers who want a lower-calorie dairy option to have that choice.
In her interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz, the show’s host, Frye stressed that the petition would only affect sweetened dairy products and that sweeteners would not be added to white milk. She explained that all ingredients would still be listed on the label and that the petition is asking for flexibility to provide consumers with low-calorie or no-calorie options.
“We want to be able to compete with other beverages such as low-calorie sports drinks and diet sodas that have the exact same labeling that we’re asking for,” Frye said.
She was joined by Dr. Keith Ayoob (pictured above), R.D., an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Ayoob pointed out that non-nutritive sweeteners are safe and that most Americans aren’t getting enough of the nutrients provided by milk and dairy products. He also reinforced that the petition would allow additional options for consumers.
Dr. Oz also interviewed two guests who opposed the petition: Dr. Russell Greenfield, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group.
The discussion ended with Oz urging consumers to share their concerns with IDFA, NMPF and the FDA.
For more information, contact Peggy Armstrong, IDFA vice president of communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.