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In the event that the public becomes too informed and savvy about toxic additives in our food supply, what's a multi-billion dollar industry to do? The first step is to create another more toxic version of the additive. The second step is to collude with regulatory authorities such as the FDA to convince the public that the new, more toxic additive is safe. The third and final step is to prevent the toxic additive from being listed on any ingredient labels. From the folks that brought us Aspartame, meet Neotame, a deadly sweetener that you'll never see on a label because...well that's just the way the FDA wants it.
Neotame is officially marketed as an inexpensive artificial sweetener made by NutraSweet, which is a former division of Monsanto
and original manufacturer of aspartame.
Eighty percent of all Food and Drug Administration (FDA) complaints pertain to aspartame's adverse reactions. These reports include: grand mal seizures, brain tumors, blindness and other health-related problems, including deaths. Monsanto's Nick Rosa stated in 1998, that Neotame is "based on the aspartame formula."
It is up to 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). The product is very attractive to food manufacturers, as its use greatly lowers the cost of production compared to using sugar or high fructose corn syrup (due to the lower quantities needed to achieve the same sweetening).
Neotame is aspartame plus 3-di-methylbutyl, which can be found on the EPA's list of most hazardous chemicals. The aspartame formula is comprised of Phenylalanine [50%], which caused seizures in lab animals and Aspartic Acid [40%], which caused "holes in the brains" of lab animals -- bonded by Methyl Alcohol, or Methanol [10%] which is capable of causing blindness, liver damage and death.
Methanol, or wood alcohol in aspartame breaks down further in heat and in the body, into Formaldehyde (embalming fluid), Formic Acid (venom in ant stings) and the most deadly of all -- Diketopiperazine (DKP), a brain tumor agent.
When it comes to human health, neotame is in the same dangerous category as aspartame, but it is a deadlier neurotoxin, immunotoxin and excitotoxin. The long-term effects are essentially cell-death.
Even Monsanto's own pre-approval studies of neotame revealed adverse reactions. Unfortunately, Monsanto only conducted a few one-day studies in humans rather than encouraging independent researchers to obtain NIH funding to conduct long-term human studies on the effects of neotame.
There were NO independent studies that found neotame to be safe. All industry-funded studies are now being found to be based on very poorly designed, deceptive and fraudulent research .
This is no surprise given all of the problems with aspartame industry research and scientific abuse. It is clear that any neotame research that Monsanto, industry groups, or consultants of Monsanto should be rejected until which time more trustworthy, independent research can be conducted. Such experiments should include independent animals studies and especially long-term (e.g., 4-5 years+) human studies in various susceptible population groups.
Approval and Labeling
Neotame was approved by the FDA for general use in July 2002, and has now been approved by the EU. It is also is approved for use in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
The FDA loosened all labeling requirements for Neotame as part of a large-scale effort to make it a near-ubiquitous artificial sweetener, to be found on the tabletop, in all prepared foods, even in organics. It simply does not have to be included in the ingredient list. How's that for stealth?
If you purchase processed foods, whether USDA Certified Organic or not, that food may likely contain Neotame because it is cost-effective, and since no one knows it is there, there is no public backlash.
The USDA states that their National Organic Program (NOP) does not permit the use of neotame in products labeled certified organic, however this is likely a deceptive ploy to soothe the public's concerns about this toxic sweetener.
Since the USDA is controlled by politicians and lobbyists, it cannot be trusted to follow through to protect any of its regulatory policies. The NOP is a division within the USDA in charge of regulating the USDA Certified Organic products, labeling, enforcement etc. Considering the size of this division in comparison to the amount of organic food they regulate, NOP standards are arguably as lax and useless as USDA's conventional foods. The employees that enforce NOP standards know this very well.
Bottom Line: Don't trust USDA organic foods and confide in local farms with reputable practices.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Due to corporate greed, it is becoming quite apparent that the entire food supply is becoming one toxic wasteland that none of us can rely on.
We need to support local farms and move our sustenance back to sustainable farming practices that benefit the population rather than harm it.
If you're still consuming processed foods with artificial sweeteners, you are gambling with your long-term well being. There are no corporations that serve agribusiness that can be trusted to safeguard public health, and the regulatory agencies that are officially in charge of that mandate are in bed with them. Where does that leave the safety of the food industry? I think you can figure that one out.
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.