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When I first read this headline on a facebook post, I wondered if it was an exaggeration. Or could it be a misconstrued piece from the Onion?

Aspartame in Milk Without a Label? Big Dairy Petitions FDA For Approval

A quick GIS for “dairy aspartame” yields a ton of articles from the past couple of days. But all of them are from sites with words like underground, activist or sheeple in the title. No ABC, CNN, NY Times, Fox News. So I guess there’s nothing to see here, since the mainstream hasn’t told us about it yet. Never mind.

But since I do wear my tinfoil hat every other Monday night, I did some searching. These crazy fringe anti-capitalists who hate America and the God-created institution of the massive agri-business were linking to a legitimate website from the government. Cue a whole different caricature for reaction to a government website.

Hey look here. The FDA has in fact received a petition.

Flavored Milk; Petition to Amend the Standard of Identity for Milk and 17 Additional Dairy Products

I will go on here to complain about the merger of corporate interests with the regulatory agencies they are supposed to oversee. I will call out corrupt law makers who’ve sold our future and health to the highest bidder. But I am still glad to live in a country where transparency is at least available at this level. I haven’t come across a way to subscribe to this site, as there are probably hundreds of petitions a day. I am thankful for whatever muckraking citizen journalist spotted this first and spread it online.

So nothing has changed yet, but without public outcry, the effect of this petition being granted is pretty sickening. Whether you hate government or regulations, I would think we would all have to agree that at the most basic level, keeping people honest in public dealings is necessary. One of the oldest functions in governance is the department of weights and measures. If the public is not made aware of the contents of what they are buying, we do not have free commerce.

What blows my mind, is that this is the FDA that will raid raw dairies with armed guards, even though the raw dairy consumer is one who goes out of their way to find the product as it came from nature. The product is labeled with warnings that rival tobacco. Even if you’re not a raw milk drinker or proponent, you need to see Farmageddon.

Now this same agency is considering allowing synthetic food manufacturers to add a synthetic substance to a dairy product and not have to list it on the label.

Check the calendar. Is this 2013 or 1984? They want to CHANGE THE STANDARD OF IDENTITY.

There Is Time To Act

The petition has been filed. It is not a rule yet. This is the time for public comment, so let’s comment. I am still working on formulating my own input, because I want it to sound intelligent, and right now I’m too tempted to rant.

I don’t know how many of these petitions there are in a year. I don’t know how many get turned down, or on what basis. Maybe this is like civil court, where anyone can file a lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean it will win.

That’s a pretty big maybe. The official notice is out, and unless we react in some way, the powers that be can interpret our silence as tacit approval. Next thing you know, we’re Arthur Dent watching our house get bulldozed because we didn’t know the paperwork was filed at the courthouse. Of course, that story continues with the whole earth being destroyed by the Vogons, to make way for an inter galactic bypass. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to get this book right now and read it. Funniest novel of the 1980s.

It may be tempting to dismiss the petition as not a big deal, because it only applies to flavored milk and milk products. So, for example, if your school is suspending chocolate milk because of the high calorie content,, here comes the industry to provide diet chocolate milk. That’s the insanity we’re looking at. I’m not speculating. This is in the text of the petition in the notes.

IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school. As further support for the petition, IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would assist in meeting several initiatives aimed at improving the nutrition and health profile of food served in the nation’s schools. Those initiatives include state-level programs designed to limit the quantity of sugar served to children during the school day.

I hate to go to well of Simpsons references twice in one week, but am I the only one who thought of this?

Image

I am on the anti-sugar bandwagon of course, but this petition shows exactly what is wrong with how we deal with problems via fake food products.

You know what, if you want to give your kid diet soda, fine. I’m not going to stop you. If you want to give your kid diet chocolate milk, I’m not going to propose the nanny state arrest you.

BUT LABEL THIS CRAP!!!!!

As you get into this thing, and you really need to read it all, the doublespeak gets worse. The low expectations of our kids, and our ability to teach them to value real food is apparent.

3. The petition states that flavored milk labels that bear nutrient content claims such as “reduced calorie” are unattractive to children. What, if any, data are available on children’s purchase habits with regard to flavored milks labeled as “reduced calorie flavored milk,” “no sugar added,” “less sugar,” etc?

Folks, I’m too keyed up to write much more very clearly. I recommend you read this page thoroughly and check their standards for comments. In the footnotes you find this:

3. Although FDA requests comments relevant to the IDFA and NMPF petition, FDA does not seek comments regarding the requested amendments to the standards of identity for yogurt, lowfat yogurt, nonfat yogurt, and cultured milk. FDA has already sought and collected comments regarding similar amendments to those standards in a proposed rulemaking. See 74 FR 2443.

This is insanity.

I think we can get the word out about this and make it a public issue enough to get people aware of it. We can start to rethink how we feed our kids with sugar, and whether pumping them full of aspartame is the answer. How about not training them to think of sweetness constantly?

If this petition passes, we need to have a DC Milk Party. Bring together tea party folks and occupy wall street activists, and anyone with an interest here. There’s a wide coalition that can rally around this nonsense. Drive some tankers up to the FDA headquarters and dump thousands of gallons.

This isn’t the last I plan to cover this story, but I wanted to add to the growing chorus of grassroots voices pointing at this and trying to get the word out. I am going to contact some more mainstream media sources and see if we can get this noticed.

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