Posted: 05 April 2004
Note: In mid-March Dr. Betty Martini sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office in Minnesota concerning American Water Star and their aspartamed water in the public schools. After Dr. Martini's statement you will find the letter they sent her back. The letter Dr. Martini sent them may be found at: http://www.wnho.net/attorney_general_letter.htm.
It is of great interest that the Attorney General's Office in Minnesota actually reviewed the FDA's Board of Inquiry report saying not to approve aspartame and to revoke the petition. They even mention it says in large quantities it can contribute to the development of brain tumors. However, they didn't know it was cumulative and the FDA toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross, even told Congress they should not have been able to set an allowable daily intake because of the brain tumors. It's sort of like saying don't use too much and maybe you'll only get a little brain tumor. Nor did they know that Searle used people in poor villages in South America as guinea pigs and gave them brain tumors, and then never published the studies. Here is what Dr. Gross told Congress:
From Informed Consent, May/June, l994: "The late Dr. M. Adrian Gross, an FDA toxicologist, spoke out against aspartame in the August 1, l985 Congressional Record. Gross, who took part in on-site investigations at Searle laboratories, said the studies carried out by SEarle to show the safety of aspartame were "to a large extent unreliable." He said, "at least one of those studies has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals and that this ... is of extremely high significance." Gross also testified that because aspartame was capable of producing brain tumors and brain cancer, FDA should not have been able to set an allowable daily intake of the substance at any level.
He said at least one of Searle's studies "has established beyond any reasonable doubt that aspartame is capable of inducing brain tumors in experimental animals and that this predisposition of it is of extremely high significance...In view of these indications that the cancer causing potential of aspartame is a matter that had been established way beyond any reasonable doubt, one can ask: What is the reason for the apparent refusal by the FDA to invoke for this food additive the so-called Delaney Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act?"
The Delaney Amendment makes it illegal to allow any residues of cancer causing chemicals in foods. In his concluding testimony Gross asked, "Give the cancer causing potential of aspartame how would the FDA justify its position that it views a certain amount of aspartame as constituting an allowable daily intake or 'safe' level of it? Is that position in effect not equivalent to setting a 'tolerance' for this food additive and thus a violation of that law? And if the FDA itself elects to violate the law, who is left to protect the health of the public."
-- end of quotes from article
So the only way aspartame could be approved is by violating the law. The FDA is very good at that, for sure.
Here is the letter received back from the State of Minnesota Attorney General's Office:
State of Minnesota
Office of the Attorney General
Mike Hatch Attorney General
NCL Tower, Suite 1200
445 Minnesota Street
St. Paul, Ms 55101-2130
April 1, 2004
On behalf of Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, I thank you for your correspondence received March 15, 2004 and the materials you submitted with your letter.
You are concerned about the potential adverse health effects connected with consumption of the food additive aspartame. You state that in a recent letter, this Office referred a complainant to the United States Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), which has jurisdiction over food additives. You indicate that the FDA itself played a role in approving the use of aspartame before it had been proven to be safe for human consumption. You state that the FDA established a Board of Inquiry to review studies of the safety of aspartame. You indicate that the Board of Inquiry concluded that aspartame was not safe and caused brain tumors, and the Board revoke the petition for approval of aspartame. You indicate the FDA Commissioner, Arthur Hayes, nevertheless overruled the Board of Inquiry and approved aspartame.
You understand that a company called American Water Star has been permitted to sell products containing aspartame in some Minnesota schools. Because of your concerns about aspartame, you would like this Office to prevent such sales. You ask for any assistance this Office can provide.
Under Minnesota law, the Attorney General's Office has limited authority. For instance, it has jurisdiction to represent State agencies. It does not, however, have jurisdiction to represent private citizens. Notwithstanding this limitation, I can provide the following comments, which I hope will be helpful.
First, I reviewed the materials you enclosed. I note that the Board of Inquiry's opinion does conclude that aspartame, at least when administered in large quantities, could contribute to the development of brain tumors, and it recommended that approval for its use in food should be withheld until further experiments could be concluded. As you note, the FDA nevertheless approved the use of aspartame as a food additive.
Second, the FDA is a federal agency over which states have no authority. Further, states do not have authority to regulate the use of food additives such as aspartame. Indeed, states are specifically preempted from enacting such regulations. As a result, this Office does not have authority to take any additional action regarding the use of aspartame as a food additive.
Third, you believe that schools in Minnesota should not permit the sale of beverages that contain aspartame. School districts are autonomous units of government and free to make their own decisions as to how their schools are administered and what products are offered for sale to their students. Because you feel strongly about this issue, I encourage you to determine which school districts are offering American Water Star Products and contact the school boards in those districts directly to raise your concerns. I note that you have already contacted the Minnesota Department of Education about this matter. The Minnesota Department of Education may be able to provide you with contact information for Minnesota school districts.
I hope this information is helpful. I thank you for your correspondence.
Kristen M. Olsen
Assistant Attorney General
Dr. Betty Martini, Founder
Mission Possible International
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097