Rome, 5 May 2006 - The European Food Safety Authority today has performed its ritual to whitewash aspartame, an artificial sweetener made of two amino acids and methanol. In a well organized press conference in Rome, attended by an international group of health journalists and streamed live on the internet, the food watchdog explained its reasons for disregarding the study published last year by the prestigious Ramazzini Institute which found multiple cancers in rats fed the low-calorie sweetener.
NutraSweet - is it safe?
Dr. Iona Pratt, the head of the working group that reviewed the study, acknowledged the serious nature of the Institute's work but explained that the tumors the Italian researchers found in the rats may well have been "due to other reasons" than aspartame intake.
Dr. Pratt also made reference to other, previous studies, that had found no cancer risk, to sustain the panel's view. A special mention went to a recent "large study of over 500.000 people in the US" that found no aspartame-cancer link. Perhaps she should have added that this study was a diet assessment, not designed to evaluate the effects of aspartame, and in contrast to the "life time" study of the Ramazzini Institute it assessed only one year's worth of diet with no specific questions relating to aspartame intake.
In what seems to amount to a leap of faith, the panel recommended not only to leave aspartame well alone because "it does not cause cancer", but also stated in its recommendations that there is no reason to look any further. This is somewhat akin to the US Department of Agriculture's refusal to allow testing for mad cow disease - bury your head in the sand and the danger will go away. After some time, Jane and Joe public will have forgotten...
The recommendation to not look further into aspartame safety drew some questions from the journalists present. In response, the huge amount of data from consumers, collected by the FDA, was cited as proof for the sweetener's safety. But when pressed as to why not look, Sue Barlow, the Chair of the the EFSA's Scientific Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings said it would be hard to collect data from consumers and expect an evaluation of those data not to be in some way biased. So it would seem that as long as consumers say that aspartame is great, that would be just fine, but when they start to complain, that shows bias.
It is doubtful that the EFSA's analysis of the Ramazzini study will do much to calm the minds of those who work to bring the sweetener's adverse effects to the attention of the authorities, neither will it make the side effects experienced by individuals less debilitating or, for that matter, less deadly.
The official announcement of the results of EFSA's review of the Ramazzini study
EUROPEAN RAMAZZINI FOUNDATION STANDS BEHIND ASPARTAME STUDY RESULTS, ANNOUNCES ONGOING RESEARCH ON ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERSResponse to EFSA's AFC panel decision
Press and comment:
The first press report is from a food industry publication, visibly relieved that "food and beverage makers will not have to reformulate their products and find a substitute" for the sweetener.
URL of this article:
Aspartame Causes Cancer - Original Studies Showed Problem
The controversy over aspartame, the artificial sweetener imposed on us by Don Rumsfeld 'calling in his political markers' does not seem to abate. On the one hand, we have the FDA and the aspartame makers keeping a straight face regardless of all criticism, on the other we see important scientific studies, such as the recently completed Italian long term carcinogenicity study on rats that found dose-dependent increased rates of certain... [read more]
March 21, 2006 - Sepp Hasslberger
Aspartame: UK Parliamentarian Calls For Ban
According to a recent article in The Guardian, Roger Williams, a UK Member of Parliament, called for emergency action to ban the artificial sweetener Aspartame, questioning its safety. The MP said that there was "compelling and reliable evidence for this carcinogenic substance to be banned from the UK food and drinks market altogether". A second article in the same issue of The Guardian reminds us how aspartame was approved by... [read more]
December 18, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger
Artificial Sweetener Indicted - Will New Mexico Be First To Ban Aspartame?
Aspartame, the controversial artificial sweetener that was approved when Donald Rumsfeld decided to call in his political markers to override the FDA's scientific doubts, seems to be nearing the end of its 'useful' life span. Not only are consumers getting increasingly angry - once they find out what causes their ills and they get off the poison - but threatening black scientific and legislative clouds are lining the horizon as... [read more]
December 01, 2005 - Sepp Hasslberger
Aspartame and Multiple Sclerosis - Neurosurgeon's Warning
Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener. Called a potent neurotoxin by several researchers, it is being sold as a sugar substitute for those on low calorie diets and for diabetics. If you like Coke or Pepsi "light", you certainly are at risk, but both industry and health officials deny that there is any truth to this story. Manufacturers have recently been sued in California. Trade names for Aspartame are NutraSweet,... [read more]
June 10, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Aspartame Gate: When Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle
As calls for US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign are prompting questions from Senators, about possible breakdowns in the Pentagon chain of command leading to prisoner abuse in Iraq, Betty Martini founder of Mission Possible, an international 'Aspartame resistance' movement, writes to Senator Biden to explain that allowing torture of prisoners in Iraq may not have been the only reprehensible action Rumsfeld should answer for. Martini says that Aspartame,... [read more]
May 07, 2004 - Sepp Hasslberger
Dropping like flies: poisoned by ASPARTAME
Sudden Cardiac Death or SCD, according to the US Centers for Disease Control, is the number one killer, having ended the lives of close to half a million Americans in 1999. Sudden Cardiac Death is not a "heart attack" or myocardial infarction, caused by clogged arteries. It's an electrical problem in which the cardiac conduction system that generates the impulses regulating the heart suddenly outputs rapid or chaotic electrical impulses,... [read more]
September 26, 2003 - Sepp Hasslberger