International Dairy Foods Association – key facts

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Summary

International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) represents dairy manufacturers, processors, and marketers

Petitioned to add artificial sweeteners to milk without special notation on package

Consumers Union sharply critical of petition to add sweeteners to milk without labeling

* Close ally of the sweetener and candy manufacturers

Calls ice cream a “nutritious” snack for kids…

… but opposed more fruits/vegetables in Women & Infant Children nutrition program

Opposed FDA changes to recommended daily nutrients since dairy could seem less healthy

Spent more than $1.5 million annually in lobbying from 2011-2013

Spent over $60,000 to send members of Congress and staff to tropical destinations

IDFA Petitioned to Put Artificial Sweeteners in Milk without Additional Labeling

In 2013, the IDFA petitioned the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to allow the use of artificial sweeteners in milk without additional labeling requirements.

According to the FDA, the petition calls for FDA to change the “standard of identity” for milk. A standard of identity is the federal requirement that determines what ingredients some food products must (or may) contain to be marketed under certain names.

The petition asks the FDA “to amend the standard of identity for flavored milk and 17 other dairy products (including nonfat dry milk, heavy cream, eggnog, half-and-half and sour cream) so that non-nutritive sweeteners are among the standard ingredients. The products would then not require any additional description on the label.”

“If we granted the petition, a carton of chocolate milk made with non-nutritive sweeteners would simply say ‘chocolate milk,’ the same as a carton made with nutritive sweeteners, such as sugar,” said Felicia Billingslea, director of FDA’s Food Labeling and Standards staff. “You would need to read the ingredient list, which is typically on the back or the side of the product, in order to tell the difference between the two.” [Food & Drug Administration]

The Food & Drug Administration provides the following visual representation of how the change would impact labeling:

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[Food & Drug Administration]

Consumers Union: IDFA Proposal “Would Decrease, Not Increase, Fair Dealing In The Interest of Consumers”

The Consumers Union opposes IDFA’s petition and issued comments critical of the plan.

“We urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reject the IDFA/NMPF petition, because we believe the proposed changes will not “promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers,” as claimed by the proponents, but instead could have just the opposite effect,” Consumers Union wrote to the Food and Drug Administration.

“We think this does not ‘promote honesty and fair dealing in the interest of consumers’ as claimed in the petition. Indeed, we believe the petition is misleading in that regard, and that the proposed change would decrease, not increase, fair dealing in the interest of consumers. [Consumers Union comments of IDFA petition, 5/21/13]

Chicago Tribune: Petition “Has Caused an Uproar Among Some Parents, Consumer Activists and Physicians”

According to the Chicago Tribune, “The request has caused an uproar among some parents, consumer activists and physicians, who see it as little more than a ploy to sell more milk by confusing consumers about what’s in the product.”

“The critics particularly object to the idea of marketing the milk to children as part of the federal school lunch program because, they believe, children are not likely to read ingredient lists. They also cite doubts — including those of government-commissioned medical committees — about whether artificial sweeteners are safe for developing bodies,” the Tribune reported. [Chicago Tribune, 5/9/13]

Green Bay Gazette: IDFA Proposal “Distorts Reality”

A 2013 editorial in the Green Bay Gazette criticized the IDFA plan to use artificial sweeteners in milk without additional labeling.

The proposal would “make it less apparent whether artificial ingredients have been added to your regular or flavored milk,” the Gazette wrote.

“In other words, nowhere on the label of the milk carton will it say “reduced calorie” or “reduced sugar” or words that would let you know they’ve been artificially sweetened. So you might grab a jug of regular milk only later to realize it tastes sweet or your chocolate milk tastes differently. Then when you examine the ingredients you see that it has been artificially sweetened. (At that time let’s hope that you’re not allergic to such artificial additives.)…
“… This idea is wrong on many counts. Let’s put aside the safety of artificial sweeteners. Promoting consumption of milk with an artificial sweetener without putting that on the label distorts reality, plus we question the effectiveness of serving kids (or adults) artificially sweetened drinks in a fight against obesity…”

“… If the dairy industry believes in artificially sweetening milk, then it should believe in labeling its products as such.” [Green Bay Gazette, 4/9/13]

IDFA is Closely Tied to the Sweeteners and Candy Industry

The International Dairy Foods Association is a close ally of the sweeteners industry.

Member of the Coalition for Sugar Reform

The IDFA is a member of the so-called “Coalition for Sugar Reform,” a front group that lobbies for candy makers who want access to cheap sugar from overseas. [Coalition for Sugar Reform; Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/20/13]

Co-Hosts International Sweetener Colloquium

In 2014, the IDFA was a co-host of the International Sweetener Colloquium at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California. The Sweetener Colloquium is one of the premier events of the sweeteners industry. [IDFA.org]

The IDFA will once again co-host the Sweetener Colloquium in 2015, this time at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando in Orlando, Florida. [Supermarketnews.com]

IDFA Says That Ice Cream is a “Nutritious” Snack for Kids…

In 2013, the IDFA commended the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its “Smart Snacks in Schools” foods standards that included ice cream as options.

“We applaud USDA for highlighting the importance of dairy in children’s diets and taking the necessary steps to help kids meet the dietary recommendations for milk and dairy products,” said Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president. “Milk, yogurt, cheese, dairy snacks and ice cream are all options that are nutritious and tasty snacks for kids.” [IDFA press release, 6/27/13]

… But Opposed Changes to Add More Fruits and Vegetables to Women and Infant Children (WIC) Nutrition Program

In December 2002, then-IDFA CEO E. Linwood Tipton vowed that his organization would oppose adding more fruits and vegetables to the Women and Infant Children (WIC) program if that meant fewer dairy products in the program.

“In July, for instance, the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee that [Sen. Herb] Kohl chairs demanded the USDA immediately publish revised food specifications consistent with ‘the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid.’ But that was before the dairy industry, a powerful constituency in Kohl’s home state, started to worry that a government effort to combat obesity in Americans might lead the Agriculture Department and Congress to replace some dairy products with fruits and vegetables in federal nutrition programs. Simply adding fruits and vegetables to the WIC program probably would not have touched off the current lobbying battle. But Congress is unlikely to increase funds for the program, so adding new foods would mean cutting money for dairy. E. Linwood Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, wrote [Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Ann] Veneman on Sept. 6 that the organization ‘will vigorously oppose WIC food packages that detrimentally affect the rightfully prominent role of dairy products in the package, unless USDA grounds its new policies in sound science that fully supports the revisions.’” [CQ Weekly, 12/13/02]

IDFA Opposed Adjusting Recommended Daily Values of Nutrients Because They Could Make Dairy Products Appear Less Healthy

In July 2014, the IDFA submitted a comment to the Food and Drug Administration, which was considering rule changes regarding recommended daily values of nutrients, claiming that such changes would make dairy products appear less nutritious.

“Changes to nutrients that are required to be declared or to the daily values and corresponding percent Daily Values declared, can make a food appear to have a lower nutritive value, even if no changes have been made to the product. This may be particularly true for foods and beverages such as dairy products that are naturally nutrient-rich, or that may not be able to modify nutrient levels to accommodate newly proposed Daily Values because of specific provisions in the standards of identity.” [IDFA comment on proposed FDA rule, Docket No. FDA-2012-N-1210, regulations.gov, submitted 7/31/14]

Spent More Than $1.5 Million Annually Lobbying Congress

According to OpenSecrets.org, IDFA spent more than $1.5 million annually lobbying Congress between 2011 and 2013.

In 2011, IDFA spent, $1,515,000 on lobbying, which increased to $1,616,000 in 2012, and $1,730,000 in 2013. In most other years, IDFA’s lobbying spending was typically close to $500,000 annually. [Center for Responsive Politics, opensecrets.org, accessed 12/21/14]

Spent More Than $60,000 Sending Members of Congress and Staff to Warm-Weather Destinations

According to federal travel records maintained by Legistorm, from 2000 to 2014 the IDFA spent $64,216 sending 35 members of Congress or their staff on trips to conferences, with nearly every trip going to a warm-weather destination like Florida or southern California during the winter months. [Legistorm.com, accessed 12/21/14]

Calorie Control Council (CCC) – key facts

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Summary

Calorie Control Council is a trade group for manufacturers of artificial sweeteners

The CCC has “a penchant for stealthy public relations tactics”

* CCC is run by a public relations company, “functions more like an industry front group than a trade association”

 * The PR firm that runs CCC represents asbestos manufacturers, oil companies, Monsanto, fireworks manufacturers and others

Conducts own health studies, erased reference to studies into “mutagenicity,” “carcinogenicity” from website

 * CCC uses intimidation tactics against academic researchers

Defended International Dairy Foods Association petition to put artificial sweeteners in milk without additional labeling

Downplayed study that correlated diet soda consumption with premature birth

Led petition to remove saccharin from FDA list of carcinogens

Calorie Control Council is a Trade Group for Manufacturers of Artificial Sweeteners

According to its website, the Calorie Control Council represents manufacturers and suppliers of low and reduced calorie foods and beverages.

“The Calorie Control Council, established in 1966, is an international association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry. Today it represents manufacturers and suppliers of low- and reduced-calorie foods and beverages, including manufacturers and suppliers of more than two dozen different alternative sweeteners, fibers and other low-calorie, dietary ingredients.” [Calorie Control Council website, caloriecontrol.org, accessed 12/19/14]

CCC Has a “Penchant for Stealthy Public Relations Tactics”

According to the Center for Public Integrity, the Calorie Control Council is “a lesser-known industry group with an innocuous-sounding name, a long history and a penchant for stealthy public relations tactics.” [Center for Public Integrity, 8/6/14]

CCC Run by a PR Firm, “More Like an Industry Front Group than a Trade Association”

According to the Center for Public Integrity, the CCC “is run by an account executive with a global management and public relations firm, represents the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry. But it functions more like an industry front group than a trade association.” [Center for Public Integrity, 8/6/14]

President of CCC is Haley Stevens, an Account Executive at PR Firm

Haley Stevens is the president of the Calorie Control Council. [Calorie Control Council web site]

Stevens is actually an account executive for the PR firm the Kellen Company. [Kellen Company web site]

Stevens is Also the Face of Other Front Groups Represented by Kellen

In addition to her duties as an account executive for the Kellen Company and president of the Calorie Control Council, Stevens also serves as the Executive Director of the International Food Additives Council, a Kellen Company client. [Foodadditives.org, Kellen Webinar]

Stevens has previously served – and may continue to serve – as a “Scientific Affairs Specialist” for the International Formula Council, another Kellen Client. [Kellen Company web site; New York Daily News, 9/26/11]

Kellen Group Represents Other Clients, Front Groups

In addition to the Calorie Control Council, the International Food Additives Council and the International Formula Council, the Kellen Group and its subsidiary, Kellen Adams, work for a number of other businesses, organizations and front groups, including:

  • The American Pyrotechnics Association: The American Pyrotechnics Association works to prevent bans on dangerous fireworks. [Kellen Company web site]

CCC Conducts “Scientific” Studies into Low-Calorie Foods…

According to its website, CCC does its own scientific research on low and reduced calorie foods.

“As part of this objective, careful attention to scientific research has been a cornerstone of the Council since its founding. The Council has sponsored numerous studies on low- and reduced-calorie ingredients, foods and beverages—including investigations of ingredient safety, consumer usage and public opinion.” [Calorie Control Council website, caloriecontrol.org, accessed 12/19/14]

…But Removes References to Studies into “Mutagenicity, Carcinogenicity” of Low-Calorie Foods from its Website

In September 2009, the Calorie Control Council edited its page to remove references to its studies on “mutagenicity” and “carcinogenicity” of low-calorie foods.

“As part of this objective, careful attention to scientific research has been a cornerstone of the Council since its founding. The Council has sponsored numerous studies on low-calorie ingredients, foods and beverages—including investigations in the areas of mutagenicity, carcinogenicity, metabolism, consumer usage and public opinion.” [Calorie Control Council website via archive.org, 8/20/09 vs. 9/21/09]

Uses Intimidation Tactics against Researchers Who Identify Health Risks Associated with Artificial Sweeteners

In 2013, Purdue University researcher Susan Swithers published a review article showing adverse health impacts on people frequently consuming artificial sweeteners, including an increased risk of excessive weight gain, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

The Calorie Control Council sent a letter to Purdue demanding that the university stop “promoting biased science.”

“The intimidation tactics, going to somebody’s employer, it just seems to go beyond the realm of what’s reasonable,” says Swithers. [Center for Public Integrity, 8/6/14]

CCC Downplays Health Risks of Aspartame and Artificial Sweeteners…

“But a spokeswoman for the low-calorie sweetener industry was highly critical of the research, noting that the study involved just 27 rats. “I think studies like this are a disservice to the consumer because they oversimplify the causes of obesity,” registered dietitian Beth Hubrich of the Calorie Control Council tells WebMD. “It is true that there has been an increase in the use of low-calorie sweeteners at the same time that we have seen an increase in obesity, but there has also been an increase in the use of cell phones and nobody is suggesting that they are causing obesity.” [CBS News, 2/11/08]

… While 2005 Study Saw Link Between Aspartame and Cancer in Rats

In 2005, a study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives showed a link between aspartame and cancer in lab rats.

“A study in rats links the popular artificial sweetener aspartame to a wide range of cancers, but industry officials charge that the research is badly flawed. Aspartame is found in the low-calorie sweetener Equal and in many other sugar-free products under the brand name NutraSweet. It is the second best-selling nonsugar sweetener in the world. Researchers in Italy concluded that rats exposed to varying doses of aspartame throughout their lives developed leukemias, lymphomas, and several other cancers in a dose-dependent manner. The study appears in the Nov. 17 issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, which is published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” [WebMD Health News, 11/18/05]

Downplayed Result of Study Showing Diet Soda Consumption Contributed to Premature Birth

In July 2010, Calorie Control Council Executive Director Beth Hubrich downplayed the results of a new study showing a link between diet soda consumption and premature birth, saying that the results could “unduly alarm” pregnant women.

“New research suggests that drinking lots of artificially sweetened beverages may be linked with an increased risk of premature births. … In a statement, the Calorie Control Council, a lobbying group for companies that make and distribute low-calorie foods, called the study “misleading.’ “This study may unduly alarm pregnant women. While this study is counter to the weight of the scientific evidence demonstrating that low-calorie sweeteners are safe for use in pregnancy, research has shown that overweight and obesity can negatively affect pregnancy outcomes,” Beth Hubrich, a dietitian with the council, said in the statement. “Further, low-calorie sweeteners can help pregnant women enjoy the taste of sweets without excess calories, leaving room for nutritious foods and beverages without excess weight gain – something that has been shown to be harmful to both the mother and developing baby.” [Reuters, 7/23/10]

Supports Using Artificial Sweeteners in Milk without Additional Labeling

In 2013, the Calorie Control Council defended a 2009 petition by the International Dairy Foods Association to allow the use of artificial sweeteners in milk without additional labeling requirements beyond including the sweetener in the list of ingredients.

“Recently, the Doctor Oz show aired a segment about the use of low calorie sweeteners in flavored milk and other dairy products and made several unfounded allegations. The segment centered on a petition put forth to the FDA back in 2009 by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) asking for permission to provide reduced-sugar alternatives to flavored dairy products, such as chocolate milk, without an added label claim such as “reduced calorie” or “no sugar added.” It is important to note that products using a low-calorie sweetener will still be labeled as such in the ingredients list.” [Calorie Control Council press release, 4/1/13]

CCC Led Petition in 2003 to Remove Saccharin from List of Carcinogens

In 2003, the Calorie Control Council led a food industry petition seeking removal of saccharin from the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of carcinogens, a request that was granted in 2010.

“EPA has finalized its rule removing saccharin — a common artificial sweetener found in diet soft drinks, chewing gum and juice — and its salts from the agency’s list of hazardous substances. With the Dec. 14 announcement, EPA is granting a seven-year-old industry petition that argued scientific data suggests the food additive is not as harmful as once was thought. EPA had previously included saccharin on its list of hazardous substances and wastes when the lists were created in 1980 because the Food & Drug Administration had previously concluded the additive was a potential human carcinogen, the industry group Calorie Control Council (CCC) wrote in its 2003 petition.” [Superfund Report, 12/27/10]

CCC Pushed for Overturning of Ban on Cyclamate Sweetener in 1980s

In 1984, Forbes reported that the Calorie Control Council was working to overturn a 1969 ban on the artificial sweetener cyclamate.

“And then there is cyclamate, which may not give Searle even three years of room. Since 1969, when the FDA banned cyclamate because it allegedly caused cancer in mice and rats, one of the cyclamate manufacturers, Abbott Laboratories, and an industry group called the Calorie Control Council have been campaigning to reverse the decision. In 1980 the FDA again rejected Abbott’s claims. But last April the FDA’s cancer assessment committee finally changed course, requesting that the National Academy of Sciences conduct an in-depth review. The way now seems open for cyclamate to reenter the marketplace by late 1985.” [Forbes, 8/27/84]