New Mexico at a Crossroads: Will the Attorney General Stand Up to Protect us? Gershon Siegel - The Sun, New Mexico (Aspartame issue)

Over the years the Sun has examined the medical and legal implications of the artificial sweetener aspartame. For New Mexico, a critical crossroads is approaching in the very near future, not concerning aspartame as a potential neurotoxin, but rather questioning whether or not the state of New Mexico, through its Board of Pharmacy, Environmental Improvement Board and Board of Education, has the right even to investigate such a potential.

This legal-authority question has been asked of the attorney general, Patricia Madrid, whose office is presently preparing a formal opinion as to whether our state's boards can legitimately challenge a Food and Drug Administration-approved product like aspartame. The FDA's approval was flawed, if not corrupt, to begin with, as was made clear in the September 2005 Sun article "Rumsfeld's Disease." Therefore it seems incomprehensible that such a faulty FDA approval could not be questioned by a state board having heard a significant amount of evidence thus far. But this is just what corporate lawyers representing the Japanese firm Ajinomoto, the world's largest aspartame manufacturer, would like the boards and the attorney general to believe. Ajinomoto is joined in this legal effort by an industry front group, the Calorie Control Council. They have both hired high-powered lawyers to silence the boards on the grounds that aspartame is "safe" and that, besides, no one but the FDA, Congress and the federal courts can challenge any of the FDA's approval processes, at least until someone dies from an FDA-approved product. In spite of the industry front group's innocent-sounding name, and given previous and most recent scientific studies indicating the harmful affects of aspartame, we take exception to Ajinomoto's assertion of aspartame safety. Coincidentally, Ajinomoto also happens to be the world's largest manufacturer of another dubious food additive, monosodium glutamate. We encourage the attorney general to issue a strong opinion supporting the boards looking into aspartame in children's medicines and in thousands of food products. Neurodegenerative diseases are on the upsurge, especially in children and in the elderly, and no corporate interest can silence or thwart the ongoing quest for medical truth. Protecting our children lies at the very core of our existence, and most certainly the attorney general knows this. We'd like Madrid to recognize the obvious: that in 1981 the FDA's approval was politically motivated and that these corporate interests have stymied the real truth about aspartame for the last 24 years through the evolution of "diet" beverages, "sugarless" gum, "low fat" yogurt and other pleasant delusions whose net effect has been shown to cause neurodegenerative mayhem in the human physiology. It is time to put an end to this destructive mythology and corporate deception.

Attorney General Madrid could roll over and capitulate to the corporate interests, as if it were the FDA itself that is making the preemption arguments, which is not the case. From a bureaucratic point of view, this might be the easiest thing to do. However, real consumer protection is not about the easiest path. Corporate interests need to be held in check and admonished and rebuked when it is necessary -.

As part of the attorney general's statutory duties and powers, it is her job to protect New Mexicans from further neurotoxic exposure. Therefore, we strongly encourage Madrid to say no to the corporate clamor insisting that the Board of Pharmacy and the Environmental Improvement Board remain silent on this issue, and instead affirm their right to move forward with aspartame hearings.

In the past, when local laws have threatened corporate bottom lines, big business has hauled out the Constitution's supremacy and commerce clauses to support their profits-over-people argument. This tact has usually proved successful. However, let us not forget the tobacco suits of the 1990s, which stunningly affirmed, in effect, that those corporations that knowingly sell products potentially harmful to the public risk paying billions in reparations to those states that take seriously the obligation of protecting the health and safety of their citizens.

The aspartame industry represents billions of dollars annually, and we understand the courage needed by the attorney general to stand tall at this critical juncture for the health and safety of the people of New Mexico. As with the aforementioned tobacco suits, her decision may potentially affect the actions of other attorneys general throughout the country and, therefore, affect millions of Americans and even more millions of consumers worldwide. However, for Madrid to now surrender to the industry's legal saber rattling will be nothing less than a complete abnegation of the powers of her office and a further descent into the growing corporate control of all government processes. To voice your input regarding this matter of consumer protection to the attorney general's office, call 505 827-6000 and ask to speak to Patricia Madrid's personal assistant.

To keep up with what is going on in New Mexico go to  and click on aspartame. You can also subscribe to the Aspartame Information List on t front page.  has some of the government documents.

Dr. Betty Martini, Founder, Mission Possible Intl, 9270 River Club Parkway, Duluth, Georgia
30097 770 242-2599 t and  Aspartame Toxicity Center,