Dairy foods should be encouraged as part of a healthy diet and therefore should be excluded from New York City’s proposed efforts to lower sugar content in foods, IDFA stated in comments filed last Thursday. IDFA submitted the comments in response to New York City’s proposed sugar targets under its National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative (NSSRI).
The proposed sugar-reduction targets follow a similar effort by New York City to encourage food companies to reduce the salt content in foods. The proposal from New York City identifies sugar content targets that companies would voluntarily agree to meet by 2022 and 2025. The targets are set for several food categories, including “sweetened milk and milk substitute,” “dairy-based and frozen desserts” and “yogurt.”
In the comments, IDFA urged New York City officials to exclude dairy from the initiative, citing the nutritional benefits of milk and dairy products and the underconsumption of dairy. Additionally, IDFA said the variety of dairy products currently available already provide lower sugar options to meet the needs and preferences of consumers.
However, if New York City does decide to include dairy, IDFA also raised several considerations about the design of the initiative. In order to focus on the initiative’s goal of reducing added sugar intake, IDFA said the targets should be based on added sugar levels, rather than total sugar, which would include lactose and natural fruit sugars. IDFA also encouraged New York City staff to reconsider the category groupings, target values and timeline in order to allow for reductions that will be attainable and acceptable to consumers.
Members with questions can contact Michelle Matto, IDFA’s nutrition and labeling consultant, at email@example.com.