Aspartame in the Pink Pack?


I recently received this picture of a Ruby Tuesday® sweetener packet from a concerned reader who was surprsed to see aspartame in the ingredients rather than saccharin. So, I'm not sure if the blame goes to the restaurant Ruby Tuesday®, to their corporate decision makers, to the aspartame marketers, or to an Internet hoax, but no Hat's Off to this picture for offering the pink packet of chemical sweetener with aspartame - not saccharin. Yes, you read correctly, a pink packet with aspartame.

For over 30 years, aspartame's Equal® has been exclusively found in the blue packet, and saccharin has always been in the pink packet. So if you have been fooled into thinking you were zipping open the safer sweetener choice of saccharin, you may be duped into thinking you are zipping open aspartame instead of saccharin.

As a cautious consumer, you must not only read the labels on all the foods you buy to check for hidden chemical sweeteners, but it appears you must now read the labels on the sweetener packets themselves to know which manufactured chemicals you are actually pouring into your tea or onto your child's cereal.

If you get confused on which colored packet sweetener is what, remember this good rule of thumb I write about in my book, Splenda®: Is It Safe Or Not?: Color Matters

-- The yellow packet (Splenda) = caution like in a traffic light
-- The blue packet (Equal) = makes you feel blue
-- The pink packet (Sweet'N Low®/generic saccharin) = you're in the pink!

But now, has Ruby Tuesday changed that identification code by switching the sweeteners in the packets?

We contacted Ruby Tuesday's corporate offices to inquire about this "altered" pink packet with aspartame, but have neither received a reply nor a confirmation that this is a hoax. Let's hope their corporate offices made an honest mistake due to being misinformed or that this is an Internet sweetener prank.

Saccharin has been packaged in the pink packets for over 40 years, originating as Sweet'N Low®. As I write in my books, saccharin is the chemical sweetener I recommend if you INSIST on sprinkling a powdered sweetener onto your food or into your drink. The FDA lifted the cancer warning for saccharin in 2000 because saccharin neither caused cancer in lab rats nor in humans, and saccharin has been used safely for over 100 years. I write about the history of saccharin in Splenda®: Is It Safe Or Not? and in my new book coming out next year on the artificial sweetener industry, The Sweetener Wars.

Posted August 2006 | Permanent Link

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