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Bozeman parents concerned over possible changes to milk labeling

By Eric Turcio, Reporter, eturcio@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 14 2013 06:50:23 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 14 2013 07:05:44 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Food and Drug Administration is considering a petition from two dairy organizations to change the way flavored milk with artificial sweeteners is labeled.  The International Dairy Foods Association and National Milk Producers Federation say the change could lead to more children choosing low or reduced calories.

The milk could find its way into schools, and that has some parents concerned. The organizations say the move could lead more children to chose those products and say that could help cut childhood obesity.

NBC Montana went to the Bozeman Nutritional Health Center and spoke to dietitian Lindsay Kay Kordick.  She said artificial sweeteners like aspartame can actually cause obesity in young people.

"We may think that lower calories may not cause obesity, it's actually the opposite," said Kordick.

Kordick said substances like aspartame and artificial sweeteners can cause an increased appetite. She doesn't agree with the non-labeling of low calories on the products.

"My concern with them adding these substances is that they're actually asking the FDA to alleviate the labeling of these sweetened beverages. I think people should have all the information they need about what they are consuming," she said.

NBC Montana spoke to some parents who said they would not want their child to consume any artificially sweetened dairy products. Parents say they don't serve them at home and would not want them served in their child's school.

"I don't usually serve anything that is artificially sweetened, of course I give it to them every now and then as a treat," said Kristen O'Brien.

Other parents told NBC Montana that if companies are trying to reduce calories there are other ways to address it.