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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Indonesia Considered Ban on Aspartame [Jakarta Post article]

January 30, 2007
On aspartame 
As co-founder of the international organization educating the public regarding the reported adverse reactions to aspartame, (Aspartame Consumer Safety Network), I want to congratulate the governing agency that ruled to consider a ban on aspartame sweeteners in Indonesia.

Aspartame was approved in 1981 under a shroud of intense controversy - with falsified documents which contained test results that showed dead laboratory animals miraculously manipulated back to life, on sworn documents submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the drug company, G.D. Searle. Since 1987, our organization has devoted all of our energy and resources toward getting aspartame recalled and re-tested as a drug, which is how it was discovered.

My co-founder, James Turner and I were among a handful of experts and victims who testified at the Senate Hearings on Aspartame Safety in Washington D.C. in 1987 - shortly after creating the massive consumer network that now works successfully with consumers, health care professionals, scientists and media.

Tens of thousands of concerned individuals look to our organization for answers about the safety of their artificial sweetener. On our ACSN hotline, many (including military and commercial airline pilots) report serious adverse effects ranging from cancers to seizures and death.

It is our opinion that all countries where aspartame is sold need to consider banning this dangerous artificial sweetener which has hidden far too long behind the grossly misleading label: "Safe and natural." Unfortunately, aspartame is neither.

        Hon. Mary Nash Stoddard
Founder Aspartame Consumer Safety Network and Pilot Hotline (1987-present)
 Dallas, Texas 

Breaking News on Food and Beverage in Asia Pacific 
Indonesia consults on aspartame, sweetener use in food

By Dominique Patton

09/01/2007 -  The Indonesian government is currently reviewing its laws on artificial sweeteners and will consider banning them from food if expert evidence suggests they present health risks, according to a report.

"We may remove artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame saccharin and cyclamate, from the Health Ministry's decree ... about allowable food additives," Husniah R.T. Akib, head of the country's food and drug authority (BPOM) told the Jakarta Post.

"We are looking at the various opinions around the world on these sweeteners. If stakeholders and people believe those three substitutes are health hazards, we will ban them," Husniah said.

The three sweeteners are permitted in food in the European Union and 
Codex Alimentarius, a set of internationally recognized food standards, also recognizes their safety. However within the Asia-Pacific region, Japan has banned aspartame and cyclamate while Malaysia prohibits cyclamate.

The use of aspartame as a 
sweetener was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. But animal studies that were claimed to show a carcinogenic effect threw the sweetener's safety into doubt. These have however been criticized by several toxicologists and the EU food authority confirmed its safety last year. It is now the second most widely used artificial sweetener, after saccharin, contained in about 6,000 food products worldwide.

Both cyclamate and saccharin have also been linked to controversy, both banned by the FDA after studies linking it to cancer in animals but the FDA lifted its ban on saccharin in 1991.

The review in Indonesia is being carried out by the BPOM as well as the health and trade ministries and university experts. The food and beverage industry, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and several consumer groups are also involved in the process, according to the report.

It is expected to be completed later this month.

"In addition to Codex Alimentarius, we also refer to world agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the FDA," Husniah told the paper.

The BPOM has already approved the sweeteners acesulfame-K, alitame, neotame and sucralose.