Aspartame History Highlights

By Dr. Janet Starr Hull

There is so much information on the dangers of aspartame (originally exclusively found in NutraSweet® and Equal®) I could write a book about it - well, actually I did! In 1997, I was diagnosed with an incurable case of Grave's Disease caused by aspartame. I wrote "Sweet Poison: How The World's Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us--My Story" exposing the dangers of this artificial sweetener. The book is still selling well after 11 years, and my personal experience has helped thousands of people who have been misinformed or totally uninformed about the documented dangers of aspartame.

The following timeline is an excerpt from my book. It succinctly outlines the history of how this toxin came into the American food supply, and it might help to understand why and how such a known toxin is still on the market today....

1965: Jim Schlatter, a chemist at G.D. Searle & Company was working on a project to discover new treatments for gastric ulcers. He accidentally and unknowingly spilled some of the heated chemical on his hand. Later he licked his finger as he reached for a piece of paper, and noticed the sweet taste. He and a friend decided to test some in coffee and both agreed the chemical had a sweet taste. The result: aspartame. The manufacturer merely changed the FDA paperwork from drug to food additive, but did not change the substance itself.

1969: G.D. Searle applied for the first patent on aspartame. Saccharin and cyclamate were alleged to cause bladder cancer in rats.

March 1973: G.D. Searle submitted its first petition to the FDA for aspartame use in foods.

1974: FDA approved aspartame use in carbonated beverages and in dry products.

December 1975: FDA task force concluded that some of Searle's studies were questionable and rescinded aspartame approval.

April 1976: FDA Commissioner Schmidt wrote Senator Ted Kennedy, informing him of G.D. Searle's "questionable integrity of the basic safety data submitted (by Searle) for aspartame safety."

January 1977: FDA Chief Counsel Richard Merrill submitted a thirty-three-page letter to U.S. attorney Samuel Skinner recommending a grand jury investigation into G.D. Searle "for concealing material facts and making false statements in reports of animal studies to establish the safety of aspartame." Two specific studies of concern were cited. No action was taken, and the statute of limitations for prosecution expired.

July 1977: Samuel Skinner left the U.S. attorney's office to represent G.D. Searle's law firm, Sidley and Austin.

October 1980: FDA appointed Public Board of Inquiry submitted a written recommendation that NutraSweet not be approved pending further brain tumor testing.

May 1981: Three of six FDA scientists formally advised against aspartame approval.

July 1981: FDA Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr. solely approved NutraSweet (aspartame) for dry products.

July 1983: FDA Acting-Commissioner Mark Novitch, M.D. approved aspartame in carbonated beverages and carbonated beverage syrup bases.

October 1983: The NutraSweet Company filed two patent extensions for an extension of five years, ten months and seventeen days (each).

November 1984: Center for Disease Control (CDC) published the first list of consumer complaints related to aspartame use.

July 1986: The NutraSweet Company filed thirty patent extensions for an extension of five years, ten months and seventeen days (each).

November 1987: "NutraSweet: Health and Safety Concerns" hearing was held by the U.S. Committee on Labor and Human Resources, Senator Howard Metzenbaum, chairman.

September 1992: FDA released a list of ninety-two complaint categories filed against NutraSweet, totaling over 8,000 complaints filed. (See Appendix XI of Sweet Poison: How The World's Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us--My Story, by Dr. Janet Starr Hull for the complete list.)

December 1992: G.D. Searle's patent extensions on aspartame expired, allowing other companies to produce aspartame.

1992 - 1997: A gap in public information, and a media black-out begins.

1997- 2008: "Sweet Poison: How The World's Most Popular Artificial Sweetener Is Killing Us--My Story" is published, the first book documenting the truth and history of aspartame.

2004-2007: European studies are performed proving aspartame dangers to human health - Healthy Newsletter, Feb 2006 (click the links for the PDFs)

2007: A second Italian aspartame study with results of leukemia and lymphoma is repeated by Morando Soffritti, Fiorella Belpoggi, Eva Tibaldi, Davide Degli Esposti, and Michelina Lauriola at the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, European Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences, Bologna, Italy - Bella Italia: The Soffritti Aspartame Study (full text in PDF)

Sept. 2008: The aspartame media blackout breaks down, and the dangers of aspartame are becoming more accessible as mainstream news.

Oct. 2008: Readers return all products with aspartame to their grocer to request a full refund.

Posted on September 24, 2008 in History | Link

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