WASHINGTON, D.C. — News agency Reuters surprised many last week as it reported that aspartame, the most common artificial sweetener, was about to be labeled carcinogenic by the World Health Organization’s cancer research institute.
Aspartame is used in Coca-Cola’s diet sodas and countless other popular beverages and food products. It has an interesting history that involves now-deceased former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps most known for leading America into war after 9/11.
As CEO of pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle, Rumsfeld pushed to get aspartame – which the company owned the patent of – approved as a food ingredient. Searle was absorbed by Monsanto in 1985.
Robbie Gennet wrote in The Huffington Post in 2011:
“One, the chemical additive aspartame is very potentially a cancer and brain tumor-causing substance that has no place in our food. And two, the reasons and means by which Rumsfeld helped get it approved are nefarious at best, criminal at worst.”
Gennet states that the Food and Drug Administration’s own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, fought the approval, telling Congress that “without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer and that it violated the Delaney Amendment, which forbids putting anything in food that is known to cause cancer.”
According to a report by The Guardian, Rumsfeld had said publicly that he would “call in his markers” – a statement indicating corruption – to get aspartame approved. The Guardian investigation claims that Ronald Reagan maneuvered around the FDA – including firing its director – so that Rumsfeld could get aspartame approved.
According to The Guardian, an Italian study commissioned by European Ramazzini Foundation, “demonstrated that aspartame caused a significant increase in lymphomas and leukaemias, malignant tumours of the kidneys in female rats and malignant tumours of peripheral and cranial nerves in male rats. These tumours occurred at doses that were well below the acceptable daily intake recommended by the regulatory authorities in the EU and US.”