Splenda® Hearings

Have you ever heard the expression: What's good for the goose is good for the gander? Well, in the case of the lawsuits currently filed against Splenda's misleading slogan "Made From Sugar, So It Tastes Like Sugar", this is an appropriate way to describe what's going on in the courtroom these days.

Paul Block, Chief executive officer for Merisant (the company selling Equal®), puts it this way, "The public needs accurate advertising so that consumers can make informed decisions about the products they're buying."

Is he the goose or the gander? This hasn't been the case concerning the dangers of aspartame used in Equal over the past 20 years, and this isn't the case today when it comes to publicizing the dangers that both Splenda and aspartame (Equal and formally NutraSweet®) can cause to human health. But, if the diet sweetener companies continue to turn against one another for the trillion-dollar #1 position in the diet marketplace, maybe they will expose the fact that consumers haven't been told the entire truth about the health dangers of any of the chemical sugar substitutes.

May 11, 2007, a jury settled the lawsuit over Splenda's disputed advertising slogan. Merisant (Equal) accused Splenda of confusing consumers by letting them think its product was healthier and more natural than other artificial sweeteners. Splenda's marketer, McNeil Nutritionals, countered that it simply has a better product backed by superior advertising.

Merisant France SAS won a significant victory in May 2007 in the Commercial Court of Paris against subsidiaries of McNeil Nutritionals LLC, the American company that markets Splenda. The court awarded Merisant France a euro 40,000 ($54,000 US dollars) damages and ordered the defendants to cease advertising claims found to violate French consumer protection laws.

The Paris court's decision strikes at the core of Splenda's global positioning. The advertising claims were found to violate French law and ruled that McNeil must cease including the marketing slogans: "Because it comes from sugar, sucralose tastes like sugar" and "Splenda: Comes from sugar and tastes like sugar." The ruling ordered McNeil to amend all advertising and promotions that contain these, and other claims, and to amend all packaging within a period of 30 days starting at the service of the judgment. In addition, the Court prohibited the distribution of any products under the trademark Splenda® with unchanged packaging after a period of four months, starting at the service of the decision.

From the beginning, neither of these chemical sweetener companies has been upfront with the public concerning the "silent side" of their research showing the health dangers caused by both aspartame and sucralose, nor has the story ever been straight concerning the bogus 1970's research claiming saccharin as a carcinogen. No one mentioned the fact that cyclamate was mixed with saccharin for this one, antiquated cancer study.

Merisant was seeking more than $200 million from McNeil - at least $183 million for unfair profits since 2003 and compensation for at least $25 million in lost sales. After the verdict was passed, a McNeil spokeswoman in the courtroom said the amount of the settlement wouldn't be announced. The two sides planned to issue a joint statement later that day, but that statement has yet to be published.

According to Associated Press reporters present at the hearing, settlement talks began after jurors asked the judge for a calculator and a white board, an indication that they were computing damages to be awarded to Merisant. Lawyers for both sides rushed to the courtroom to try to delay the jury's announcement, and then huddled in a courthouse meeting room.

"We're pleased the Court held McNeil accountable for Splenda® advertising that we believe has intentionally fooled a significant number of consumers into thinking Splenda contains sugar and no calories, and that it is a natural product; both are completely false," said Block. "We want to ensure fair competition through accurate advertising so that consumers can make informed decisions about the products they're buying."

Merisant's attorneys said that McNeil's own advertising consultants admitted its slogan confused potential customers, some of whom thought that Splenda was sugar miraculously without the calories. McNeil rejected a proposal to add the phrase "does not contain sugar" to the front of their yellow packages, which might have cleared up the confusion, according to Merisant representatives.

As I wrote in detail in my book Splenda®: Is It Safe Or Not?, the original ingredient in Splenda starts as one sugar molecule, but a myriad of toxic chemicals such as acetone, benzene, formaldehyde, methanol and toluene (pp. 16 - 17) are used to chemically create a compound that contains no calories, according to McNeil. Sucralose is 1-part sugar to 3-parts chlorine; and not the natural form of chloride, as in sea salt, but industrialized chlorine, like in your swimming pool and in commercial bleach.

McNeil claims because the manufacturing of Splenda begins with sugar, they can accurately claim that Splenda is "made from" sugar, according to their attorneys.

Splenda is used in more than 4,000 food and drink products and the list is growing day by day.

Access to mainstream information on the health dangers of these chemical sweeteners is few and far between. There is SO MUCH the consumer needs to know about these chemicals in order to protect their health and the health of their children. I have written two books about these diet sweeteners to educate the consumer on the health dangers connected to both aspartame and sucralose. Please take it upon yourself to do the research on the "silent side" of the diet chemical sweeteners, aspartame and sucralose.

For more information on this controversy, the lawsuits, and the hearings, visit:
Splenda: Is It Safe Or Not?
Splenda Exposed

Posted June 2007 | Permanent Link

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