http://www.vegsource.com/davis/sweeteners.htm

This is probably a fairly old article but I ran across it while reading up on Stevia.  Here’s some highlights…

There are very powerful economic forces behind aspartame. Even before aspartame received its final green light from the FDA for use in dry foods in 1981 and in beverages in 1983, scientists objected to its approval. Aspartame was initially granted FDA approval for use in dry foods in 1974, but was later blocked by objections raised by attorney James Turner and John Olney, M.D. Investigators described aspartame safety studies conducted by G.D. Searle between 1967 and 1975 as ‘shoddy science’ and ‘sloppy tests.’ Ninety out of 113 aspartame safety tests showed discrepancies. FDA scientists and outside researchers insisted that more rigorous and reliable testing was needed. Despite these concerns, on July 18, 1981 aspartame was approved for use in dry foods by FDA Commissioner Arthur Hull Hayes who, incredibly overruled his own Public Board of Inquiry which recommended that approval be denied. He also ignored the law, Section 409(c)(3) of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 348), which says that a food additive should not be approved if tests are inconclusive.

But I thought FDA was here to keep us safe.

Researchers at G.D. Searle pharmaceutical company were looking for an ulcer drug when they accidentally stumbled upon a white, crystalline powder that was 180 times sweeter than sugar. This man made synthetic compound consisted of two isolated amino acids, phenylalanine and aspartic acid chemically bonded by methanol (wood alcohol.) Searle dubbed the new compound aspartame and was relentless in gaining approval for its use as a food additive, despite the dangers….

After suffering a $28 million dollar loss in the previous year, G.D. Searle sold out to the chemical company, Monsanto in 1985.(8) Monsanto then created the NutraSweet Company as a subsidiary, separate from G.D. Searle. Over the next decade, aspartame consumption soared and reports of ill side effects increased…

Someone ought to rein in those evil corporations.

The first stevia crop was harvested in 1908. Soon plantations began flourishing throughout South America and abroad. Stevia was first brought to the attention of the US Government in 1918 by a US Botanist. In 1921 American Trade Commissioner George S. Brady, aware of stevia’s great commercial possibilities, again brought it to the attention of the US Government, this time to the USDA. Brady noted that stevia had a long history of safe use, and was especially ideal for use as a sweetener by diabetics. This news no doubt, alarmed US sugar producers, much in the same way that the sugar industry in Germany had felt threatened when stevia was introduced there in 1913…

In the mid-1980′s stevia was being used by several US companies as a flavor enhancer in herbal teas. Suddenly, the FDA poised itself for an all out assault on stevia and launched an aggressive campaign to stop its use. Prompted by an anonymous trade complaint, a series of FDA actions against companies using stevia included: embargoes, search and seizures, and ultimately an all out ‘import alert.’ (9) Stevia was not granted GRAS (Generally recognized as safe) status, despite it’s long history of safe use and the numerous world wide scientific studies supporting its safety. Instead, it was classified as an ‘unsafe food additive’. Celestial Seasonings and other companies were forced to stop using stevia…

I feel safer already.  Thank you government.

To further protect the interests of Monsanto, and to continue the poisoning of the American public, the FDA would ultimately resort to strategies frighteningly reminiscent of tactics practiced in Nazi Germany. Recently, the FDA placed an embargo on shipments of stevia to the small Stevita Company of Arlington, Texas. In a letter to Stevita dated May 19, 1998 the FDA further demanded that Stevita destroy a warehouse full of ‘cookbooks, literature, and other publications’ and promised to be on hand to ‘witness the destruction’ of the offending materials. In a later development, the FDA asked the Stevita Company to recall the more than 6,500 books already in distribution to stores, and private individuals for the purpose of destroying these, as well…

Kickin’ it old school..

Although the book burning has yet to take place (FDA officials backed off when local media cameras began rolling) and the FDA now denies these allegations, the letter to Stevita is proof that these threats were real. The matter has not gone unnoticed by the local chapter of the ACLU either. The FDA’s actions which are in clear violation of the constitutional right to freedom of the press, should be of particular concern to all Americans at a time when free speech is being attacked on several fronts. As evidenced by the recent Oprah Winfrey trial, passage of food disparagement laws in 13 states stifle free speech by threatening legal action against anyone with a disparaging word to say about a U.S. agricultural product.

The constitution? Ain’t that quaint?

Fast-forward to today: we now have Truvia to consume thanks to companies like Coca-Cola.  Right now I enjoy diet coke with Splenda but I’m looking forward to the Truvia sodas to come out.