The main reason that aspartame is approved in Australia is because aspartame is approved in the United States. Aspartame is a heavily politicised issue because it is a major American corporate profit base worth billions of dollars and, as every Australian adult should know by now, we usually bend over backwards to please Uncle Sam. It’s good politics. Monsanto and the corporate chemical industry have helped put every American president in power since the 2nd World War and good relations with the USA means keeping American corporates happy and ensuring their products pass through the Australian regulatory process virtually automatically providing they have the FDA stamp of approval.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), our regulators deny this, of course, but then they also deny that aspartame carries any health risks. Arguing the issue with them is a bit like trying to promote the Earth as a sphere to the Flat Earth Society. You have to visit the scandalous history of how aspartame was approved to understand exactly why FSANZ and our politicians in Canberra prefer to hide their heads in the sand.
It’s no coincidence that the current US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, is a central player in the aspartame approval drama and the full story of what happened is like an episode out of “The Sopranos”, but I’ll try to keep it brief.
It’s January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan, a former B-grade Hollywood actor takes office as U.S. President. He’s sailed into the White House on a huge raft of election funding from corporate America and G.D. Searle in particular and the word is out that he will not forget his friends. Donald Rumsfeld, former Ford White House Chief of Staff, is G.D. Searle’s president and a firm Reagan favourite. Rumsfeld has been telling the Searle sales force “he would call in all his markers and that no matter what, he would see to it that aspartame would be approved that year.” (6)
That same day, G.D. Searle reapplies to the FDA for the approval of aspartame despite the fact that to date this approval has been denied on grounds of aspartame’s proven toxicity. No problem. Reagan and Rumsfeld already have a staunch Republican hack ready for the job as new FDA Commissioner – Arthur Hayes, who in short order overrules the FDA’s own board of inquiry that has refused to approve aspartame and gives the product the FDA’s stamp of approval.
It’s well known in Washington circles, however, that aspartame is not just any old political FDA approval, but is, in fact, a general signal to corporate America that Reagan means business and Big Business at that. The signal, in particular, tells Big Business that from now on all the brakes are off, tricky regulations about silly things like public health and safety are gone for good and “Let’s get together and make money, boys!”
Arthur Hayes is quickly bored by his job at the FDA, at any rate, and before too long goes off to work for notorious PR flack firm Burson-Marsteller, who just coincidentally, you understand, happen to be retained by G.D. Searle! At about the same time, Federal attorney Sam Skinner, who’s been assigned to prosecute Searle for fraudulent tests in their original aspartame application, gets “an offer he can’t refuse” from – Guess who! – Searle’s lawyers! – and goes off to work for them for a reputed $US1,000 per day, effectively sabotaging the whole Federal case and, of course, effectively ending any litigation threat against Searle for its deliberately falsified aspartame data.
The whole debauched exercise is the start of a long-standing criticism of US federal authorities – and the FDA in particular – that they have a ‘revolving door’ relationship with G.D. Searle, Monsanto and the chemical industry in general. And, of course, as far as FSANZ is concerned this whole shoddy exercise just never happened. But it did, and it’s recorded in US Senate records. (6)
That’s the thing about aspartame: it’s a bit like the key to Pandora’s Box of stored evils – once we start opening the box all hell breaks loose!
Recently, good old FSANZ has finalised approval of several knock-offs from aspartame, including neotame, an aspartame look-alike which Monsanto/Nutrasweet say is safer for phenylketonurics. Actually this is PR drivel. Dr Roberts and others in the long list of medical critics say the clinical effects from neotame will be the same as aspartame, and the only reason Monsanto/Nutrasweet are changing the formulation is because aspartame’s patent rights have run out, and the neotame formulation gives them patent control again and thus monopoly and price control.
In my own regular dealings with the food regulators it always seems we’re singing from different hymn books when it comes down to the actual science indicating hazard or safety for aspartame. However, when you can get to check what the regulators are actually reading, you invariably discover they are sticking to the data produced by the aspartame industry or its paid minions in the science community.
Substantive evidence of this trend was produced by Professor Ralph Walton of Northeastern Ohio University’s College of Medicine, who pointed out on the popular US TV programme “60 Minutes” (Dec 29, l996) that he had done peer reviewed research showing that, of 90 INDEPENDENT studies on aspartame, 83, or 92%, identified a problem. Of the seven non-industry studies attesting to aspartame’s safety, six were studies from the FDA and one was from a literature review almost exclusively dealing with industry-sponsored research. Dr. Walton noted at the time that “As the role of the FDA, in the question of aspartame safety, has been controversial and allegations were made of a conflict of interest on the part of the FDA Commissioner at the time of aspartame’s approval, one could argue that the FDA studies should not be considered truly ‘independent’. If these studies are excluded, along with the literature review focusing only on NutraSweet industry funded research, then 100% of the truly independently funded research demonstrated some type of adverse reaction to NutraSweet (aspartame).” (4)
His warning words on the aspartame disaster, now well into its third decade on our food chain, are echoed by a long list of eminent scientists whose peer-reviewed papers and interviews on the subject of aspartame toxicity are listed in detail on the www.dorway.com website.
FSANZ naturally places its confidence in aspartame safety on pro- industry research and the shonky reports from the EU and UN Codex coming from committees loaded with food industry representatives. When it is challenged on its aspartame safety data it always quotes the European Union’s special whitewash report on aspartame instigated by Tony Blair’s UK Government – “Opinion of the European Commission, Scientific Committee on Food: Update on the Safety of Aspartame / E951” (SCF 2002) (7), which reads like something out of the notoriously shonky Blair brief on the Iraq “weapons of mass destruction” scam – another piece of work with the stamp of Donald Rumsfeld all over it.
The EU Opinion naturally reported that aspartame was safe because two-thirds of the science committee’s members earn a significant part of their living as scientific consultants to the aspartame-using food industry. The United Nations body concerned with international food safety, the Codex Alimentarius – is similarly dominated by aspartame-user industry groups and their concerns due to an in-built bias in its constitution that dictates it deal solely with industry groups, politicians and national regulators. In these circumstances genuine scientific and consumer concerns get short shrift and aspartame carries on its path of destruction.
What we all need to keep focused on, of course, is that our bureaucrats and politicians have a long, long history of support for blue asbestos, DDT, lead, and Agent Orange poisoning, as the historic record demonstrates. It took Australian governments and their regulatory officials and experts decades to accept that these toxins actually damaged human health. Little wonder, then, at their staunch defence of aspartame and a long list of other harmful synthetic food additives in the food chain. (8)
Why is aspartame protected?
Why all this carefully organised concern aimed at keeping a dangerous nerve poison part of the world food chain? Are the people we trust – politicians, food regulators, even the Establishment medical profession – suffering from a collective blind spot, or, perhaps, temporary insanity over aspartame? Is it a plot from the New World Order or even Osama Bin Laden?
Well, actually, nothing like that. It’s really just a familiar case of the old Washington/White House/Canberra run-around described earlier. They are all just protecting their jobs and their backs. For a start, the potential litigation over aspartame – already in train – is billed to be among the biggest class actions ever to hit the planet, far out-ranking tobacco, blue asbestos, Agent Orange and lead, and they just hope the brown stuff doesn’t hit the fan until they have retired or moved to another job.
Aspartame litigation could destroy the credibility of whole governments and the very international processes we rely on to regulate food safety. FSANZ will, before too long, be dancing before investigating political committees in Canberra and Wellington answering the important question, “Why did you ignore all the warning data about aspartame for over 20 years!?”
But don’t expect logic. Everyone ‘in authority’ is ducking for cover at the moment hoping that aspartame will simply go away. This story will be ignored or denied following the usual pattern. But unfortunately for all concerned, including the untold millions of aspartame consumers out there, it will not be going away this time. Things have already gone too far.
Litigation has started
As I was revising this story the news came in from anti-aspartame action organiser, Betty Martini, that New York’s leading class action attorney, Keith Silverstein, is collecting evidence for a major class action case against all the key players in the aspartame industry. Silverstein is presently taking on confirmed cases of medical disability caused by consumption of aspartame-containing products, but is limiting the medical field to brain tumours, seizures and blindness or other eye deterioration. All medical records and updates can be sent direct to the law firm’s email but check first with Betty Martini (Email: ) to make sure Australians can be joined to the legal action. Silverstein and partners are also taking on Vioxx and Celebrex cases, two recent drug medication disasters that also involve Australians.
Compensation paid out by the aspartame industry including major corporations such as Coca Cola and Pepsi is expected to surpass the payouts in the case of blue asbestos and tobacco, the current record holders in class action litigation, by billions of dollars. Wall Street, London City and insurers from Zurich to Tokyo are beginning to tremble and look for avenues of escape and you can bet FSANZ and state health regulators throughout Australia will be checking their insurance policies and calling in their lawyers for some serious back-room chats.
Be sure to send copies of this issue of Living Now to any friends or relatives who may be suffering from aspartame poisoning. Remember, all diet preparations are suspect, many sweetened medications and confectionery and many “fitness” and “health” drinks. Watch this space for news of litigation in this part of the world, but in the meantime scan everything you buy for Additive 951, the term ‘contains artificial sweeteners’ and the phenylketonurics warning.
If you believe that you’ve been poisoned by aspartame, the first thing to do is STOP USING THE STUFF! If you’ve been a daily user it could take at least three months for the headaches, muscle pains, migraines, etc, etc, to fade away, but immediate relief can be noticed by most aspartame addicts within 24 hours of stopping. Australian doctor Sandra Cabot’s Liver Diet books give a good programme of detoxification from aspartame addiction. Advice on de-tox procedures is also posted on the anti-aspartame website www.dorway.com as is a long list of case histories from people who used the stuff, were made sick by it, and recovered. Reading this list should be compulsory for FSANZ.
You should also keep a regular watch on the public notices sections of the major city newspapers if you have been poisoned by aspartame products. Class actions against the major players in the Australian food industry using aspartame will undoubtedly be a feature of Australian law courts over the next decade. You could get your money back for all those diet products you consumed that took your health away!
And while you’re at it, why not raise the topic of aspartame regulation with our politicians? Don’t they represent us? An interesting question in the circumstances!
1. Dr. Woodrow C. Monte, “Aspartame: Methanol and the Public Health,” Journal of Applied Nutrition, Volume 36, 1984, No. 1, page 42- 54.
2. Russell L. Blaylock, M.D., “Excitotoxins; The Taste That Kills”, Health Press, Santa Fe, N.M. 87504, 1994, page 213.
3. FSANZ was formerly known under the rubric of ANZFA (Australia New Zealand Food Authority).
4. Walton, RG., Northeastern Ohio University’s College of Medicine, “Survey of Aspartame Studies: Correlation of Outcome and Funding Sources,” outlined on the popular US TV programme “60 Minutes” (Dec 29, l996) and provided to Ed Metcalfe for the purposes of his story “Sweet Talking,” published in The Ecologist, Vol 30, No 4 June 2000.
5. British medical journal, the Lancet, July 29, 1999, see website ).
6. Gordon, Gregory, 1987. “NutraSweet: Questions Swirl,” UPI Investigative Report, 10/12/87. Reprinted in US Senate report (1987, page 483-510).
7. See for the full report.
8. See Bill Statham’s Australian guide to food additives, “The Chemical Maze”, listing nearly 1,000 potentially harmful chemicals in our food chain. Available from Possibility.Com, P O Box 789, Ringwood, Victoria 3134.
CHECK THESE RESOURCES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Web Site – www.dorway.com and www.wnho.net, the Aspartame Toxicity Center, www.holisticmed.com. A new video exposing the aspartame industry is “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World”, available from Email: click hereTel (USA) – 520 – 624 -9710. Also the medical text on aspartame: “Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic”, available online from www.sunsentpress.com or Tel (USA) 1 800 827 7991 H. J. Roberts, M.D. (along with other books and tapes). Dr Roberts’ book contains a chapter on trial lawyers and drug interactions since aspartame is a severely neurotoxic drug. See also books on aspartame by neurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, MD, “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills”, and “Health & Nutrition Secrets To Save Your Life.” See websites above for details. The latter book tells aspartame victims what they have to avoid and why, and explains how a victim can re-build their immune system. Dr. Blaylock also has a book on Cancer Strategies. With aspartame having caused so many tumours in original studies this is a helpful resource.
Aspartame increases cancer risk
The BBC News of July 14 alerted the world to the latest research linking aspartame/additive E951 to increased cancer risk. Reporting to the European Journal of Oncology (Vol 10, No.2, 2005), an Italian team of researchers led by Morando Soffritti of the Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences, Bologna, drew attention to the results of a very detailed study indicating a significant increase in cancers – specifically lymphomas and leukaemias – in rats fed dose ranges of aspartame at concentrations comparable to those consumed by humans in common diet products. Rats fed aspartame also developed brain tumours, one of the specific factors warned against in Professor J.W. Olney’s 1996 report in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology (Vol. 55, No. 11, 1996) where he pointed to an increase in brain tumours in humans paralleling the increase in consumption of aspartame since 1981.
If it quacks!
“This is not a battle we can afford to lose”, stresses Dr Clark (26.6.05) in an aspartame discussion ‘thread’ directed to anti-aspartame group organiser Betty Martini see www.dorway.com. “The damage aspartame does to our glaucoma and diabetic patients alone is just staggering based on the info I have been seeing. When I first went into practice 28 years ago, I might have seen one glaucoma patient every 2 or 3 weeks. Now I find myself surprised when I get through a single day and have not caught at least one glaucoma case … it is my hunch that the combination of aspartame, which is being consumed by young people like crazy now to supposedly keep their weight down, and the partially hydrogenated oils that do not break down well in our bodies for elimination, is causing a lot of this increase in diabetes, glaucoma and macular degeneration. I may be wrong, but if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, well, I have to think it is a duck until something else convinces me it is not a duck.”
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