Nutrapoison Part I
Nutrapoison Part II
Nutrapoison Part III
Doubts About Safety
Gulf War Syndrome
How Safe is it
Dry Eyes Syndrome
Nutrapoison Part Three
by Alex Constantine
Based on the ersatz assurances of the CDC report, PepsiCo announced that it
would drop saccharine and begin sweetening its diet drinks entirely with
aspartame. The decision would have been approved by Wayne Calloway, then CEO of
PepsiCo and director of the multinationals Citicorp, General Electric and Exxon.
In 1983 soda bottlers, organized around Pepsi had petitioned the FDA for a delay
in approval of NutraSweet for soft drinks until further evaluation verified its
safety-interpreted by market analysts as a ploy to drive down the price of the
sweetener. They soon abandoned the effort to block approval (and all health
concerns they might have had). "We believe saccharine is safe," Pepsi
USA President Roger Enrico lied, but "we wanted the taste improvement."
PepsiCo, already drawing on a tenth of Searle's 7.5 million pound annual
production of aspartame, signed an agreement with G.D. Searle to boost purchases
500 percent.89 (Like other corporate pushers of aspartame, Pepsi has long
maintained ties to the intelligence community. One product of the relationship
was a Pepsi plant in Vientiane, Laos with a laboratory outfitted for heroin
production. Alfred McCoy, in *The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia* documents
the efforts of Richard Nixon to promote the plant's construction in 1965, and the
CIA's continuing subsidization of the plant. McCoy complained to Pepsi officials
that the facilities were but a cover for the importation and refinement of
morphine, but it continued to operate unhindered.)
Yet another report was filed by Reagan's General Accounting Office in July
1987, this one on the FDA's handling of aspartame. The GAO concluded that the
agency had followed proper procedures and conducted valid studies. But the report
noted that the FDA had followed guidelines for food -not drug- testing, despite
the recommendation of the agency's own biologists favoring *drug* tests, which
are considerably more stringent. This recommendation was overruled by FDA
Another blemish in the study was bared by Dr. Louis Elsas, director of medical
genetics at Emory University in Atlanta. "They never asked the right
questions about what it does to brain function in humans," he told the
_Washington Post_. Half of the scientists polled expressed reservations about the
safety of NutraSweet. One-fifth reported "major concerns." Monsanto
quibbled in a press release that these critics had themselves never conducted
aspartame research. A score of independent scientists have. They found side
Senator Metzenbaum berated Searle's flawed and fabricated tests at the August
1, 1985 Senate hearings. "The FDA," he said, "is content to have
the manufacturer of aspartame, G.D. Searle, conduct these studies. How
He also faulted the AMA:
The _Journal of the American Medical Association_ recently published a report
on aspartame which, with some significant disclaimers, stated it was safe for
most people. I wish that this report could ease my concerns. It does not. It
merely restates the FDA position which relies solely on the tests conducted by
G.D. Searle. As I have indicated these tests are under a cloud. In addition, the
concerns raised recently by the scientists ... were not even included in the
In defense of the tests, executives of G.D. Searle argued that the sweetener
has been approved by foreign regulatory agencies and the World Health
Organization. But H.J. Roberts, an internal medicine specialist in West Palm
Beach, Florida, reviewed the foreign studies and found that "the vast
majority of these agencies accepted company-sponsored research without ever
having done independent confirmatory studies.''91
Deficiencies in testing were aggravated by a lack of laboratory training at
Searle. One of the pivotal safety studies involved fetal damage, but the FDA task
force found that the medical researcher in charge was "inexperienced in
conducting studies of this nature and yet given full responsibility." They
were appalled to discover that his sole credential was a field study of the
cottontail rabbit for the Illinois Wildlife Service, yet at Searle he'd been
assigned to laboratory training and supervision. When asked about his *curriculum
vitae* in fetal research, he replied that he'd once attended a seminar on the
subject, and the company had provided him with a stack of reference works.92 (Yet
J.D. Searle, in its 1981 Annual Report, billed itself as "a research based
Corporate control of NutraSweet testing continues at Monsanto, torturing the
ethics of academic medicine. In August 1987 the University of Illinois, a
recipient of Monsanto's largess, issued a study exonerating aspartame of causing
seizures in laboratory animals. Dave Hattan, a safety regulator for the FDA,
responded that the study only confirmed the need for testing on humans. At
independent labs, he insisted, aspartame provoked seizures.
Industrial support tends to contaminate test data. Dr. Elsas, in a 1988 letter
to the _New England Journal of Medicine_, advocates unbiased review of clinical
research. "The NutraSweet Co.," he said, "may have had an interest
in protocols that would find that their product had no untoward effects." 94
Monsanto reportedly granted one NutraSweet researcher a $1.3 million
honorarium.95 The same hired gun willing to manipulate lab results will have no
qualms publicly defending a tainted pharmaceutical, like the diabetic specialist
who objected that a Senate hearing on aspartame, which called him as a witness,
might arouse groundless public anxiety.96
Victims and health activists have attempted in the courts to put a stop to the
marketing of NutraSweet, to no avail. In 1985 a coalition of consumer groups were
handed a ruling by the federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia that the FDA had followed proper procedures in approving aspartame for
soft drinks. A year later the _Washington Post_ reported that the Supreme Court
again refused to consider the case "despite critics' arguments that the
product, sold under the brand name NutraSweet, may cause brain damage."97
Likewise, the medical establishment has thrown up an impenetrable wall to
aspartame critics. Dr. Roberts, author of a brief study,
"Aspartame-Associated Confusion and Memory Loss: A Possible Human Model for
Early Alzheimer's Disease," found it impossible to publish the article in a
peer review medical journal. This was peculiar, he thought, "considering the
increasing magnitude of Alzheimer's disease, and the relevance of my observations
to newer biochemical findings and avenues of research." He can
"personally vouch for the *enormous* difficulty in getting published
articles concerning reactions to aspartame products," a trend in censorship
with "ominous overtones." The options, Dr. Roberts says, are
"generally limited to 'burying' the findings in a small-circulation journal
(such as the bulletin of a county medical society), reporting the results as a
letter to the editor, or (unfortunately, most often) discarding the
Silence surrounds the most odious conspiracies.
- "Sweet Talk," Science and the Citizen column, _Scientific
American_, July, 1987, p. 15.
- "Adverse Effects of Aspartame-January '86 through December '90,"
Current Bibliography series, National Library of Medicine pamphlet, National
Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1991.
- "Pepsi Switches Sweeteners-Aspartame Winning Diet Cola Market,"
_Washington Post_, November 2, 1984, p. A-1.
- Mae Brussell, World Watchers #842, KAZU-FM, Monterey, CA., January 25,
- _Moody 's Industrial Manual_, 1975, p 2606
- G.D. Searle's 1981 _Annual Report_. Also, Arnold Foster and Benjamin R.
Epstein, *Cross-Currents*, Doubleday & Co. (New York: 1956), p. 153.
- Nancy Lisagor and Frank Lipsius, *A Law Unto Itself: The Untold Story of
the Law Firm of Sullivan & Cromwell*, William Morrow (New York: 1988), pp.
- John Marks, *The Search for "The Manchurian Candidate ": The CIA
and Mind Control*, Times Books (New York: 1979), pp.58,67 & 212. Marks writes
that incapacitating "large numbers of people fell to the Army Chemical
Corps, which also tested LSD and even stronger hallucinogens. The CIA
concentrated on individuals."
- John Peer Nugent, *White Night.- The Untold Story of What Happened
Before-and Beyond-Jonestown*, Rawson, Wade (New York: 1979), pp. 143, 177.
- Michael Meiers, *Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment?A Review of the
Evidence*, Mellen House (Lampeter, UK: 1988) p. 42.
- Ibid., p. 43.
- Ibid., pp. 42-43. For a sanitized account of Dr. Layton's career, see Min
S. Yee and Thomas N. Layton, *In My Father 's House: The Story of the Layton
Family and the Reverend Jim Jones*, Holt, Rinehart and Winston (New York, 1981).
- National Council of the National Front of Democratic Germany and the
Committee of Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters of the German Democratic Republic,
*The Brown Book: War and Nazi Criminals in West Germany*, Verlag Zeit im Bild,
1965, pp. 33-34.
- Dan J. Forrestal, *Faith, Hope & $5,000: The Story of Monsanto*, Simon
and Schuster (New York: 1977), p. 159.
- *Brown Book*, p. 34.
- Tom Bower, *The Paperclip Conspiracy: The Hunt for the Nazi Scientists*,
Little, Brown & Co. (Boston 1987), pp. 93, 95.
- Howard W. Ambruster, *Treason's Peace: German Dyes and American Dupes*,
Beechhurst Press (New York: 1947), p.144
- Nigel West, *MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations,
1909-1945*, Random House (New York: 1983), p.92
- Jaques Attali, *A Man of Influence: The Extraordinary Career of S. G.
Warburg*, Adler & Adler (Bethesda, Maryland: 1987),p. 167.
- Forrestal, p. 121ff.
- Anthony Cave Brown, *The Last Hero, Wild Bill Donovan*, Vintage (New York:
1982), pp. 210211. Also: Ernst Hanfstangl, _Unheard Witness_, J.R. Lippincott
(New York: 1957)
- "Search for the Tiger's Treasure," _Las Vegas Sun_, December 26,
- _Moody 's Industrial Manual_, 1968, p. 4080.
- "Radiation and the Guinea Pigs," _Guardian_, March 3, 1994, p.
3. Also see, "Nuclear Scientists Irradiated People in Secret Research,"
_New York Times_, December 17, 1993, p. Al.
- Christopher Simpson, *Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its
Effects On the Cold War*, Wiedenfeld & Nicholson (New York: 1988), pp.26,
152-53. Col. Pash, a former high school gym teacher, was an officer of the Office
of Policy coordination under Frank Wisner. His unit, writes Simpson, "known
as PB/7, was given a written charter that read in part that 'PB/7 will be
responsible for assassinations, kidnaping, and such other functions as from time
to time may be given it... by higher authority."' Pash was a member of the
Russian Orthodox Church, a veteran of the Russian Civil War. Monsanto's Clinton
Engineering Works in Oak Ridge became the Manhattan Project's headquarters in
1943, and was "manned almost entirely by experienced officers and agents of
the CIC." See lan Sayer and Douglas Botting, *America's Secret Army: The
Untold Story of the Counter intelligence Corps*, Franklin Watts (New York: 1989),
- Robin Thomas Naylor, *Hot Money and the Politics of Debt*, Simon &
Schuster (New York, 1987), p.289.
- "Statement from Adrian Gross, Former FDA Investigator and
Scientist," _Congressional Record_, August 1, 1985, p. S10835.
- Florence Graves, "How Safe is Your Diet Soft Drink?" _Common
- "FDA Finding on Aspartame," _New York Times_, January 14,1984,
- Article in Medical World News,1978, cited in I .N. Love "NutraSweet
Isn't that Sweet," _Gentle Strength Times_, October 1987, p. 3.
- "Dick Wurtman's Ideas Aren't So Crazy After All," _Business
Week_, December 14, 1992, p. 60.
- "A Sour View of Aspartame ," _San Francisco Chronicle_, August
- "Amendment No. 60" (debate), _Congressional Record_, May 7,
l985, p. S5516.
- "Lobbyist's Cozy Ties with Ex-Boss Sen. Hatch Include Client
Referrals, Political Fund-Raising," _Wall Street Journal_, February 18,
1993. Eli Lilly contributed $17,500 to Hatch's campaign chest between 1985 and
1988. Sen. Hatch filed a of friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Eli Lilly in a
1989 patent case. Other pharmaceutical houses enjoy his political favors.
Lobbyist Thomas Parry remains a key adviser to Sen. Hatch:- "Nobody gets
better care than his former chief of staff," reports the _Journal_.
- Jane E. Brody, "Sweetener Worries Some Scientists," _Science
Times_, February 5, 1985.
- _Who 's Who in Industry and Finance_, 97th ed., Macmillian (Wilmette, IL.)
- "Food and Drug Administration Food Additive Approval Process Followed
for Aspartame," GAO Report B223552, June 18,1987.
- "GAO Investigating NutraSweet Approval," UPI, reprinted in
_Congressional Record_, August 1, 1985,p. S10823.
- "Head of FDA Tested Drugs on Volunteers," _Washington Post_,
June 26, 1983, p. A4.
- Austin H. Kiplinger, *Washington Now*, Harper & Row (New York: 1975),
- Daniel Guttman and Barry Willner, *The Shadow Government: The Government's
Multimillion Dollar Giveaway of its Decision-Making Powers to Private Management
Consultants, ''Experts, " and Think Tanks*, Pantheon, (New York:1989),p.173.
- Bruce Oudes, ed., *From: The President-Richard Nixon 's Secret Files*,
Harper & Row (New York: 1989), p. 173.
- James A Smith, *The Idea Brokers: Think Tanks and the Rise of the New
Policy Elite*, Free Press (New York: 1991), p.282.
- Sterling Seagrave, *Yellow Rain: A Journey Through The Terror of Chemical
Warfare*, M. Evans and Co. (New York: 1981), pp. 258 "After a meeting with
President Nixon, Representative Gerald Ford attacks politicians who criticize the
Pentagon CBW efforts, saying the critics seem to favor 'unilateral
- Christopher Palmeri, "Act Three," _Forbes_, October 26, 1992, p.
- "Westmark Systems Expands Board, Hires 3 New Vice Presidents,"
_Wall Street Journal_, February 11,1988, p.33.
- "Hon. Samuel K. Skinner," _Congressional Record_, Congressional
Printing Office, Washington, D.C., August 1, 1985, pp. S10827, S10835.
- _Congressional Record_, August 1,1985, p. S10823.
- "Critics Cause Bush Cabinet Search to Stumble," _Los Angeles
Times_, December 22,1988.
- Herman Rogan, *Traditions and Challenges: The Story of Sidley &
Austin*, R.R. Donelly & Sons (Chicago: 1983), p.266.
- *Who's Who in America*, 48th ed., 1994.
- "Deukmejian Thrives in Private Life, Law Work," _Los Angeles
Times_, January 3, 1992, p. Al.
- "Chicago Law Firm Agrees to Pay Up to $34 Million in Lincoln S&L
Case," _Los Angeles Times_, May 21, 1991, p. D5;and "Sidley &
Austin RTC Said to Reach Pact," _Wall Street Journal_, October 31, 1991, p.
B4. The basis of the suit was a memo written on May 10, 1988 by Margery Waxman, a
partner in Sidley & Austin's Washington office, to Charles Keating. In it,
she said "pressure" had been applied to M. Danny Wall, then chairman of
the Home Loan Bank Board, "to work toward meeting your demands and he has so
instructed his staff."
- "Suit Accuses 7 Drug Makers of Price-Fixing," _Los Angeles
Times_, October 15, 1993, p. Dl. Other pharmaceutical houses accused of
conspiring to fix prescription drug prices included Smith-Kline-Beecham,
Ciba-Geigy Corp., American Home Products, Schering-Plough and Glaxo.
- Ida Honorof, "FDA Coverup of Hazards of Nutra-Sweet," _Report to
Consumers_, Vol. XVIII, No.401, December, 1987. Also, "Two Ex-U.S.
Prosecutors' Roles in Case Against Searle are Questioned in Probe," _Wall
Street Journal_, February 7,1986, p. 4. Ironically, William Conlon won an
appointment to the Illinois State Board of Ethics in 1982 (Kogan, p.359).
- _Los Angeles Times_, December 22, 1988.
- "Sam Skinner: A Pragmatist in a Storm," _Wall Street Journal_,
December 6, 1991.
- "Samuel Knox Skinner," _New York Times_, December 23, 1988.
- "Statement from Adrian Gross, Former FDA Investigator and
Scientist," _Congressional Record_, August 1, 1985, p. S10835.
- _Congressional Record_, August 1, 1985, p. S 10831, and "Statements
from Adrian Gross," p. S10838.
- "FDA Handling of Research on NutraSweet is Defended," _New York
Times_, July 18, 1987, p. 50
- H.J. Roberts, M.D.,*Aspartame (NutraSweet): Is it Safe?*, Charles Press
(Philadelphia: 1990), p. 10.
- _Congressional Record_, August 1, 1985, p. S108-28.
- Ibid., p. S108-34.
- "Sweet Suspicions," three-part CBS Nightly News series, January
1984. Transcript reprinted in the _Congressional Record_, August 1, 1985, p.
- Raymond Bonner, "Searle Stock Query Held 'Smokescreen,"' _New
York Times_, February 29, 1984, p. D5
- William Safire, "Sweet and Sour," _New York Times_, June 1,
1984, p. A31.
- Louis Wolf, "Accuracy in Media Rewrites the News and History,"
_Covert Action Information Bulletin_, Number 21 (Spring 1984), pp. 24-37.
- I.N. Love, "NutraSweet Isn't that 'Sweet,"' in _Gentle Strength
Times_, October 1987, p.3.
- "Complaints on Aspartame Lead to Nationwide Investigation," _Los
Angeles Times_, July 5, 1984, p. Hl.
- "Federal Agency Sees Little Risk in Sweetener," _New York
Times_, November 2, 1984, p. A22.
- _Los Angeles Times_, July 5, 1984.
- _New York Times_, November 2, 1984.
- "U.S. Study of Aspartame Finds no Serious Effects," _Washington
Post_, November 2, 1984, p. A18
- "Pepsi Switches Sweeteners," _Washington Post_, November 2,
1984, p. AI.
- "Most Scientists in Poll Doubt NutraSweet's Safety," _Washington
Post_, August 17, 1987, p. A23.
- Roberts, p. 238.
- _Congressional Report_, May 7, 1987, p. S5500.
- "New Findings Back Use of Sweetener," _New York Times_, August
1987, p. 30.
- "Researchers Differ Over Long Range Effects of Sweetener," _Los
Angeles Times_, November 3, 1988, p. Hl.
- Roberts, p. 244.
- Roberts, p. 248.
- "High Court Rejects Sweetener Review," _Washington Post_, April
23, 1986, p. C.
- . Roberts,p. 246-47.
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