Aspartame in Chocolate Milk? Not So Fast, Says Super Pac to FDA


Washington, DC -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/25/2013 -- The Akyumen Society, a non-partisan Super PAC, has set its sights on the FDA for having some of the most blatant conflict-of-interest issues when it comes to dealing with approvals of food additives that consistently benefit mega corporations. The FDA, under the lead of the Deputy Commissioner of Foods, Michael R. Taylor, who is in charge of food safety legislation and labeling, recently announced that it is taking up the 2009 Citizen’s Petition filed by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) for review. This petition calls for allowing the use of artificial non-nutritive sweeteners in chocolate milk and 17 other dairy products, and with very misleading labeling. According to the CEO of Akyumen, Mustafa Saied, the FDA is in no position to make an unbiased or trustworthy decision in this case, especially not with Taylor in the mix.

“The appointment of Michael Taylor to the FDA was wrong when the first Bush administration did it in 1991, and it was wrong when the Obama administration did it in 2009,” said Mustafa Saied. “This certainly has a déjà vu feeling to it, considering that in his first stint at the FDA, Mr. Taylor got a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBST) approved for use on cattle to increase milk production, and signed off on it not needing to be labeled. Now, in his second stint, we are seeing him poised to oversee an approval that can allow the milk industry to get away with the use of Aspartame and other toxic sweeteners, unlabeled, yet again. He is in charge of deciding that we should buy condensed milk, sour cream, yogurt, eggnog, and several other dairy products infused with synthetic sweeteners that are misleadingly advertised as healthy. It is an absolute travesty that he is even involved.”

Aspartame has had a contentious history right from when it was first discovered in 1965 and eventually approved by the FDA in 1981 under very questionable circumstances. Its history with the Monsanto Corporation outlines the seriousness of Michael Taylor’s conflict of interest within the FDA. Monsanto was a client of the law firm King & Spalding, where Michael Taylor was in charge of their food and drug practice during his 7-year stint there, until 1991 when he was appointed to the FDA as Deputy Commissioner of Policy (a new position created just for him). Taylor went back to Monsanto a few years later, and was a VP there when he was appointed again to the FDA in 2009. Another new position, this time Deputy Commissioner of Foods, was created just for him. Monsanto has since sold its various Aspartame divisions, but has quietly patented (and obtained FDA approval of) a spinoff sweetener called Neotame, which would qualify as an artificial sweetener that can be used in milk products if this petition is approved.

“To allow the use of Aspartame in products like chocolate milk would be disastrous to the health of children and pregnant women to begin with,” said Woodrow Monte, Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Nutrition at the Arizona State University, and author of “While Science Sleeps.” “But the fact that they want to market them as in any way “safe and suitable” should be as unacceptable, if not more.”

About The Akyumen Society
The Akyumen Society is a Super PAC backed by contributors and grassroots supporters united in the organization’s causes which are primarily characterized by the uniquely non-partisan nature of the group. The Akyumen Society campaigns for or against candidates or parties based on citizen’s rights regarding issues in the food and banking industries.

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