Regulation: Sweets to the Sweetener

Sweets to the Sweetener

It was a delicious week for Monsanto's NutraSweet unit, makers of the popular brand of low-calorie aspartame, a sugar substitute. In back-to-back decisions, the Food and Drug Administration waved aside petitions challenging the artificial sweetener's safety and approved its use in a broad range of juice drinks, frozen desserts, canned and instant teas and breath mints. NutraSweet can currently be found in more than 130 different products, from Jell-O to diet Coke, but the lucrative new markets represent a major expansion of FDA approval.

Consumer-advocate groups had contended that aspartame was linked to many adverse reactions, including dizziness, depression and seizures....

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