Aspartame: an inconvenient truth

Groups campaigning about the dangers of the artificial sweetener aspartame are disappointed that the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) is shooting the messenger rather than listening to the message.

The Soil & Health Association and the Safe Food Campaign have been hosting international aspartame expert Betty Martini at media and public meetings in New Zealand. Betty Martini has been researching the artificial sweetener for over 15 years and has the authoritative 1000 page medical text Aspartame: An Ignored Epidemic by Dr HJ Roberts dedicated to her.

“The NZFSA say they want to scrutinise evidence-based research on this controversial sweetener, yet they refused to meet Betty Martini who has every bit of evidence they publicly ask for, and who had already supplied relevant references to the authority, ahead of her New Zealand visit,” said Soil & Health spokesperson, Steffan Browning. “It seems NZFSA would rather dodge an inconvenient truth by attempting to discredit the expert.”

“Aspartame has never been proven safe,” stated Alison White of the Safe Food Campaign. “On the contrary, very reputable scientists and doctors have testified their grave concerns about the range of adverse health effects this dangerous and addictive neurotoxin is associated with. The corruption and scandal associated with the registration of aspartame in the US and UK is a matter of public record. It remains on the market today because of addiction, profit and greed.”

Aspartame was first registered in the US in 1981 because a political appointee overruled the objections of scientists. It was only registered in the UK in 1984 because the manufacturers made a deal with Professor Paul Turner of Food Standards, who pushed it through without approval. The subsequent eruption of a scandal in parliament did not, however, result in aspartame being withdrawn. Several of the EU panel of scientists reviewing aspartame in 2004 have connections to the manufacturers, and as a result, ignored many independent studies showing harm.

“NZFSA continues to claim that aspartame is one of the most studied substances in the world, yet they conveniently brush aside the fact that all industry-funded studies do not show a problem, but the overwhelming majority of independent studies do,” added Steffan Browning.

“Of 166 studies felt to have relevance for questions of human safety, 74 had Nutrasweet (an aspartame brand) industry related funding and 92 were independently funded. One hundred percent of the industry funded research attested to aspartame’s safety, whereas 92% of the independently funded research identified a problem.”

“Should sugar be undesirable, Soil & Health recommends natural alternatives such as stevia, rather than the neurotoxic synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame.”

“Because of the publicity given to Abby Cormack and her poisoning with sugar free chewing gum, many similar harrowing and heart-rending stories from other aspartame sufferers have come to light,” said Alison White. “All of them have noted a marked improvement in their health once they have come off aspartame. Because of our concern over the unnecessary suffering of people who are often unknowingly taking in this addictive drug, we have launched a petition that calls for restrictions and warning labels ahead of a ban.”



Aspartame (951, Equal, Nutrasweet) is an artificial sweetener found in over 6000 products including diet drinks, sugar free products, dietary supplements, sports drinks and medications.

Betty Martini had responded to a July 5 NZFSA media release that expressed confidence in aspartame. Both are found at

In this link there is also a UK Guardian article from 1984 detailing the industry links of Paul Turner of Food Standards.

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