The standard-of-identity laws are there for a reason. So here is my advice for the Dairy Industry: If you want to put artificial sweeteners in milk, just start calling your "milk-like drink" something else. Leave the "milk" label for the real stuff.
Little rumination is required to reach this conclusion: Cows don't make aspartame. But they don't make strawberry flavoring, either. This is relevant to a debate that involves a petition by the dairy industry to the FDA to change what qualifies as milk.
While the dairy industry thinks we should embrace chemical sweeteners in our kids' milk to win the war against childhood obesity, in my upcoming book, The Omni Diet, I examine the case against drinking milk at all.
Given that the dairy industry is also asking for changes with respect to seventeen other products, one wonders if it's not using the appealing image of "school children drinking wholesome, lower calorie milk" as a Trojan horse to quietly overhaul the labeling of the entire dairy aisle.
People often ask my opinion about diet sodas. Many see them as a harmless substitute for sugar-sweetened beverages. Others are deeply distrustful of the artificial sweeteners they contain -- and there are plenty of scary rumors circulating on the Internet to bolster these suspicions.
The safety of aspartame -- the artificial sweetener sold under the brand names Equal and NutraSweet -- has been the subject of many studies over the years. But despite all the hype about controversy, there is no aspartame controversy.
"Health and wellness" may be cited as motivators behind Pepsi NEXT, but America needs mid-calorie soda as much as the Gulf of Mexico needs another oil spill. May I suggest drinking more water? What a concept!