Tag Archives | FDA

The Milk Industry Wants to do What??? {Know The Facts}

What the Milk Industry really wants

Have you heard the latest craziness?   In 2009, the Milk industry petitioned the FDA to allow the use of artificial sweeteners in milk without additional labeling on the front of the package.  Labels such as “reduced calorie” or “reduced sugar” are required now when artificial sweeteners are added to dairy products as an extra notice to consumers.  

FDA is now asking for comments on this petition and articles are flying around the internet.  The problem is that quite a few articles are incorrect or unclear on what the petition is actually asking.  Many are claiming that the milk industry wants to add artificial sweeteners (such as aspartame) without including that ingredient in the ingredient list.  This is not true.   Other articles are claiming that the industry is asking to be allowed to add artificial sweeteners to milk.  They already can!  What they are actually asking for is to remove the additional front of the package labeling.

I did quite a bit of reading of the actual petition and this is my interpretation and that of the Huffington Post and Snopes.

Straight from the petition:

The IDFA (International Dairy Foods Association ) and NMPF (National Milk Producers Federation) jointly submitted a citizen petition (Ref. 1) on March 16, 2009, requesting that FDA amend the standard of identity in part 131 (21 CFR part 131) for milk (§ 131.110). Specifically, the petition requests that FDA amend § 131.110(c)(2) to allow the use of “any safe and suitable” sweetener in optional characterizing flavoring ingredients used in milk.”
What does this mean?  They want to redefine the word “milk” to include “any safe and suitable” sweetener – i.e. artificial sweeteners, also known in biz as “non-nutritive sweeteners”.  Nutritive sweeteners such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup are already part of the definition.  This does NOT mean that they don’t need to be listed in the ingredient list.  Just that by definition, milk can contain these items and still be called just plain old “milk” without any qualifiers on the label – the front of the label.  So why bother you might ask, well…..

The petition goes on to say:

“The petition acknowledges that the use of non-nutritive sweeteners in optional characterizing flavoring ingredients in milk is allowed under the existing regulatory scheme, with certain additional requirements. …  Therefore, while the milk standard of identity in § 131.110 only provides for the use of “nutritive sweetener” in an optional characterizing flavor, milk may contain a characterizing flavor that is sweetened with a non-nutritive sweetener if the food’s label bears a nutrient content claim (e.g., “reduced calorie”) and the non-nutritive sweetener is used to add sweetness to the product so that it is not inferior in its sweetness property compared to its standardized counterpart. 

Artificial sweeteners can already be added to milk, as long as there is additional labeling on the packaging.  We usually see something like “reduced sugar” or certain ingredients have an asterisk with a note such as “*Ingredients not in regular milk”.  I recently found this on a yogurt container with Sucralose.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize at the time that sucralose is code for Equal.

So what is their reasoning for this.  Again from the petition:   “However, IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as “reduced calorie” are not attractive to children, and maintain that consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims. Further, the petitioners assert that consumers do not recognize milk—including flavored milk—as necessarily containing sugar. Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”

OK, so let me get this straight.  I, as a consumer, don’t recognize that milk should contain sugar. Right, plain milk shouldn’t.  Flavored milk however?  Unless it’s broccoli flavored milk, I’m pretty sure there is a sweetener of some kind in there.  But let’s keep going…. if I see “reduced sugar” on a bottle of chocolate milk I might get confused and think this isn’t milk?????  So they are doing me a favor.  And the piece d ’resistance” children are not attracted to a product that is labeled “reduced sugar”.

Personally, I think this is another marketing tactic and I do not agree with it.  Yes, the ingredients will still be listed but it is getting more and more difficult to decode ingredient lists.  I have added comments to this effect on the FDA petition.   

Comment period on the petition ends May 21, 2013.  Here is good read on the subject.

Misleading articles and the damage they do

With a little reading of the actual petition I could tell there was something not right about the initial articles I was reading.  Writers:  Do your due diligence!  You are hurting the environmental movement by jumping to conclusions and getting people riled up about something that is not true.  Many articles refer to petitions asking to stop the FDA from “adding aspartame to milk” or to require it in the ingredient list.  These petitions are asking the wrong thing.  Many people are submitting comments to the FDA on the wrong issue!  The FDA will be dismissing these comments as not relevant.  I hope these article are corrected and the petitions amended.  

What are your thoughts on this change?   Were you confused about the petition?

This post was shared at Green Sisterhood


Why Conventional Deodorants Stink

Why Conventional Deodorants Stink {The Greening Of Westford}
Ah puberty.  That magical age where your body grows hair in weird places, your hormones rage and you start to stink!  Lovely!   In comes deodorant.  Probably one of the first personal care products you start using as a tween. 
But how safe are the typical deodorants/antiperspirants on store shelves?   There has been much about deodorant and the chemicals within, links to Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and the like.
The Problem
As with all other personal care products, they do not need to be tested before they go on the shelves nor do all the ingredients have to be disclosed.  Some of the chemicals found in  deodorant/antiperspirant are:
Triclosan:   Used as an antibacterial in many products.  It is thought to accumulate in our bodies and has been associated with hormone disruption.
Aluminum:  suspected to be linked to Alzheimer’s.
Parabens:  Mimic estrogen which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer.
Once again, there is no conclusive evidence stating that deodorants/antiperspirants definitely cause problems.  But there isn’t conclusive evidence to the contrary either.  I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Sweating is Natural
We wear deodorant to stop the stink.  An antiperspirant to stop the sweat by blocking the sweat glands under your arm.  They are 2 separate things.
Your body is supposed to sweat.  That is one way we release toxins.  Ingredients such as aluminum block the pores to stop you from sweating.   Your underarms are home to a lymph node location.  If your body cannot release toxins from your underarms, your lymph nodes are right there to suck up the toxins.   This is one thing that can be difficult for people to get used to – that wet feeling under your arms.  Honestly, I don’t like it.  And on special occasions, I admit to wearing an antiperspirant. 
Changing The Routine
Personally, I think our bodies become dependent on deodorant.  Years ago, I found myself increasing my deodorant use and gradually moving toward the clinical strength deodorants because nothing seemed to work.  While using the clinical strength, I finally read the directions and it stated that I should put it on at night to be absorbed into my skin.  Something about that struck me as wrong.
I backed off and used a regular deodorant/antiperspirant, occasionally not wearing any at all if I wasn’t going anywhere.  Little by little I think my body adjusted.  A few years ago, I gave up the antiperspirant all together and went with just a plain deodorant.  It worked OK, but I found myself reapplying at the end of the days.
Finding a Natural Alternative
What I find difficult about deodorants is that each person’s needs are unique.  What works for one person may not work for another.  Some natural deodorants are downright expensive.  I really don’t want to be paying over $20 to try one then have it not work only to go spend another small fortune on something else that may not work.  All the while wondering if I am stinking out my friends!
About a year ago, Cheryl of The Whole Body Spa was experimenting with deodorant.  I had the pleasure of being a tester!!!!   I started using her version – cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil and lemongrass essential oil.  It worked!  This is what I use all the time.  Now, it did take a little bit of getting used to because it comes in a jar and you rub it on with your fingers.  Honestly, not a big deal.  I think of it like lotion.  
You can buy this from Cheryl or look up recipes and make your own.  It is quite simple and inexpensive.
If you are not ready to take the plunge just yet, try these steps:
  1. Buy JUST deodorant, not an antiperspirant.   At least this way you are still allowing your body to sweat and release toxins.  And no Aluminum.
  2. Go scent free – fragrances usually contain phthalates.
  3. Avoid Triclosan and Parabens.
  4. You can check Skin Deep and Good Guide for health ratings on deodorants. 
For The Tweens In Your life
I gave some of the Whole Body Spa deodorant to my daughter recently as she is just starting to wear deodorant.  She has no preconceived notions about deodorant so she didn’t think twice about applying with her fingers.  My plan is to start all of my children off with natural products.  They won’t know the difference.
Have you made the switch to more natural personal care products?  What are your favorites or ones you find difficult to replace?
Top Photo By Don DeBold used under Creative Commons license

This post has been shared at Natural Living Monday, Small Footprint Friday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways


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