Did you know that the FDA was petitioned in 1997 to approve neotame for use as a tabletop sweetener? Neotame was finally approved for commercial marketing on July 9, 2002 as a general-use sweetener and as a “flavor enhancer” in foods and beverages.
No commercial U.S. products exist – yet – that feature neotame as their primary ingredient, but in October 2002, neotame was approved for public use in:
* Chewing gum
* Carbonated soft drinks
* Refrigerated and non-refrigerated ready-to-drink beverages
* Frozen desserts and novelties
* Puddings and fillings
* Yogurt-type products
* Baked goods
Neotame isn’t required to be labeled in these products, either. You are using it, but you just don’t know that you are.
Neotame is another form of aspartame. Neotame is a modified version of aspartame, containing all the same elements found in aspartame, and more. The amino acids L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine, plus two organic groups, one known as a methyl ester group and the other as a neohexyl group are joined together to equal 8,000 teaspoons of sugar.
That’s right – 8,000 teaspoons of sugar! At 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, neotame is the most potent sweetener marketed today.
Neotame is used as a flavor enhancer because it amplifies flavors at nonsweetening levels. It is used alongside MSG to modify the taste of soy, in combination with other sweeteners, in liquids, in chewing gum – anywhere it can extend sweetness and flavor.
Like I said, you are using it, but you just don’t know that you are.
From Monsanto to …
Neotame has changed hands from its original patent holder Monsanto Chemical Company, to The NutraSweet Co., to J. W. Childs
Partnership, and now to Pharmacia. On May 25, 2000, J.W. Childs Equity Partners II, L.P. purchased The NutraSweet Company from Monsanto, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pharmacia Corporation, for $440 million in cash. The sale included the sweetener business, the NutraSweet® brand name, and the new sweetener, neotame.
Like aspartame, neotame is a very potent and questionable chemical compound, but the BIGGEST difference is that it does not have to carry the PKU warning like aspartame is required to do by law. Why? Politics.
This means that neotame’s addition to all products goes without warning. This remains a serious problem for those with PKU, who carry the PKU gene, or are PKU recessive.
At the moment, there are no solutions in the consumer’s favor. All you can do is avoid pre-packed foods that you know have been sweetened in a processing plant.
Eat as organic as possible, as raw as possible, and from local farmers, if possible.
Beverages with neotame were introduced in Australia and New Zealand in 2001. Neotame has also been approved in the People’s Republic of China, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Ecuador, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico and Costa Rica.