- In response to growing awareness about the dangers of
artificial sweeteners, what does the manufacturer of one of the world's
most notable artificial sweeteners do? Why, rename it and begin marketing
it as natural, of course. This is precisely the strategy of Ajinomoto,
maker of aspartame, which hopes to pull the wool over the eyes of the public
with its rebranded version of aspartame, called "AminoSweet".
- Over 25 years ago, aspartame was first introduced into
the European food supply. Today, it is an everyday component of most diet
beverages, sugar-free desserts, and chewing gums in countries worldwide.
But the tides have been turning as the general public is waking up to the
truth about artificial sweeteners like aspartame and the harm they cause
to health. The latest aspartame marketing scheme is a desperate effort
to indoctrinate the public into accepting the chemical sweetener as natural
and safe, despite evidence to the contrary.
- Aspartame was an accidental discovery by James Schlatter,
a chemist who had been trying to produce an anti-ulcer pharmaceutical drug
for G.D. Searle & Company back in 1965. Upon mixing aspartic acid and
phenylalanine, two naturally-occurring amino acids, he discovered that
the new compound had a sweet taste. The company merely changed its FDA
approval application from drug to food additive and, voila, aspartame was
- G.D. Searle & Company first patented aspartame in
1970. An internal memo released in the same year urged company executives
to work on getting the FDA into the "habit of saying yes" and
of encouraging a "subconscious spirit of participation" in getting
the chemical approved.
- G.D. Searle & Company submitted its first petition
to the FDA in 1973 and fought for years to gain FDA approval, submitting
its own safety studies that many believed were inadequate and deceptive.
Despite numerous objections, including one from its own scientists, the
company was able to convince the FDA to approve aspartame for commercial
use in a few products in 1974, igniting a blaze of controversy.
- In 1976, then FDA Commissioner Alexander Schmidt wrote
a letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy expressing concern over the "questionable
integrity of the basic safety data submitted for aspartame safety".
FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill believed that a grand jury should investigate
G.D. Searle & Company for lying about the safety of aspartame in its
reports and for concealing evidence proving the chemical is unsafe for
- Despite the myriad of evidence gained over the years
showing that aspartame is a dangerous toxin, it has remained on the global
market with the exception of a few countries that have banned it. In fact,
it continued to gain approval for use in new types of food despite evidence
showing that it causes neurological brain damage, cancerous tumors, and
endocrine disruption, among other things.
- The details of aspartame's history are lengthy, but the
point remains that the carcinogen was illegitimately approved as a food
additive through heavy-handed prodding by a powerful corporation with its
own interests in mind. Practically all drugs and food additives are approved
by the FDA not because science shows they are safe but because companies
essentially lobby the FDA with monetary payoffs and complete the agency's
multi-million dollar approval process.
- Changing aspartame's name to something that is "appealing
and memorable", in Ajinomoto's own words, may hoodwink some but hopefully
most will reject this clever marketing tactic as nothing more than a desperate
attempt to preserve the company's multi-billion dollar cash cow. Do not
- Ajinomoto brands aspartame 'AminoSweet' - http://www.foodbev.com/news/ajinomoto-brands-aspartame-aminosweet
- Aspartame History Highlights - Janet Starr Hull http://www.sweetpoison.com/articles/0908/aspartame_history.html
- FDA's approval of aspartame under scrutiny - The Globe
and Mail (Canada) http://www.wnho.net/fdas_approval_of_aspartame_under_scrutiny.pdf
- An Overdue Ban On A Dangerous Sweetener - Huffington