Double Suicide for America's Most Popular Artificial Sweeteners

Currently, there is a lawsuit being heard in Federal court filed by Merisant, Inc. (Equal®) against McNeil Nutritionals (Splenda®). My friend, Carol Guilford, is an LA-based writer and the author of The New Cook's Cookbook, THE Diet Book, Carol Guilford's Main Course Cookbook and The Easiest Cookbook, and has been following this court case. She has written the following article concerning the trial, and I wanted to share her findings since the trial has received very little media attention.

POISON SUES POISON?
By CAROL GUILFORD

Is it possible, the lawsuit filed by Merisant, Inc. (distributors of Equal, NutraSweet, the artificial sweetener) against McNeil Nutritionals, (the makers of another artificial sweetener, Splenda), could result in a double suicide for both chemical' sugar substitutes'?

With many experts set to testify from consumer marketing to neurobiology, will the truth about both Equal and Splenda be revealed? It is estimated that Equal (aspartame) is in 6,000 products and sucralose (Splenda) in 3500.

On March 2, 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter (Eastern Pennsylvania) sent the case to a jury, ruling Splenda must defend its advertising tagline that the product is "made from sugar so it tastes like sugar."

In her 64-page opinion, Pratter writes: "The artificial sweetener industry has long considered concerns from consumers regarding the taste and health safety of artificial sweeteners".

Both companies employ the term 'no calorie sweetener' to describe their various artificial sweetener products.

The trial began Tuesday, April 10th. Merisant attorneys told jurors in their opening statement, McNeil, through its advertising and packaging misled consumers into thinking that Splenda was safer and healthier than other artificial sweeteners.

Merisant lawyer Gregory LoCascio stated, "McNeil documents show they knew consumers were confused and they didn't do anything to stop it".

In his opening statement at trial, Splenda's lawyer, Stephen Zalesin said: "Neither Equal, made with aspartame, nor Sweet'N Low, made with saccharin, comes from sugar. Splenda, however, is made from pure cane sugar that is burned off in the manufacturing process and is not found in the final product".

Under the Lanham Act Section 43(a), to prove false advertising, a violation must show misleading statements about the product, actual deception or a tendency to deceive a substantial portion of the intended audience, likely to influence purchasing decisions, declining sales and loss of good will.

ABC News reported in 2004, the lawsuit against Splenda says that it is "made from dextrose, maltodextrin and 4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha, D-Galactopyranosyl-1, 6-dichloro-1, 6-dideoxy-beta,D-fructofuranoside". Splenda begins with a sugar molecule, but then replaces the molecule with three chlorine atoms.

In the textbook on the subject, Splenda: Is It Safe Or Not?, Dr. Janet Starr Hull zeros in on the problem with sucralose, the generic term for Splenda. Dr. Hull writes Splenda is registered as "chlorinated sucrose." "Chlorinated" means, according to Dr. Hull, "bleach"; she tells us there is a difference between man-made chlorine and the chlorine in nature. Man-made chlorine is an extremely toxic biohazard, used in WW1, as a chemical weapon. Chlorinated molecules were used in the now-banned pesticide, DDT.

Kind of like drinking from a swimming pool.

Merisant lawyers believe they have prevented the "outing" of Equal as unsafe because Judge Pratter has barred NcNeil from pursuing any defense under the doctrine of "unclean hands". "Unclean hands", in layperson's terms, is "You did the same thing we did".

With the Federal ruling, the lawyers for Splenda cannot use information that when aspartame (Equal,NutraSweet) came on the market they "also pushed Equal as being made from natural products, found in meat and milk."

The lawyers defending McNeil Nutritionals must have researched the aspartame molecule on the Equal web site. The Splenda company "admit", aspartame (Equal) is two amino acids found in nature, joined together. Not exactly. The amino acid phenylalanine (50% of aspartame) is isolated from the chain of 21 other amino acids to which it binds in natural food.

Methanol, 10% of aspartame, is wood alcohol, a known poison.

In 1993, the FDA, under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed 92 aspartame symptoms, from ten-thousand consumers who complained of conditions ranging from headache to seizures to death, No 77 on the FDA list.

Splenda comes into the trial with bad baggage, too. Citizens for Health (CFH) a national grassroots advocacy organization has a 1-888-774-CALL (2255) hotline for consumers who believe they are suffering side effects from the use of Splenda. Attorney Jim Turner, CEO of the group who valiantly failed to get the aspartame issue from the appellate court onto the Supreme Court docket, has again taken up a cudgel against Splenda.

Lawyers representing Splenda asked the judge to rule that Merisant is not entitled to damages. One point, rejected by the Court, was a dismissal of the case because Merisant waited 4 years before filing suit, and then only filed because their sales were dropping.

In court, Merisant lawyer LoCascio said McNeil made at least $183 million in unfair profits since 2003; while Merisant will incur lost profits of $24 million as a result of McNeil's allegedly false advertising. The suit seeks to recover $176.1 million in profits.

Nowhere in the equation is information Splenda's sales may be soaring, not because of a multi-million dollar publicity campaign, but because more consumers are becoming aware of the dangers of using aspartame (Equal,NutraSweet) and are seeking a safe alternative.

Splenda outsells Equal and Sweet 'N Low together, according to reporter Phil Lempert who appears on the morning NBC "Today" show. Lempert opined, due to advertising, it may now be imbedded in our minds that "Splenda tastes like sugar because it is made from sugar".

Lempert goes on to say that there is nothing natural about either of these products and advised viewers to eat sugar, with only 16 calories per teaspoon.

My personal addendum is, if you are diabetic, go Stevia.

Posted May 2007 | Permanent Link

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