Health Group Calls Attacks on Sweetener "Deliberate Distortion of the Facts"

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A self-styled consumer group is deliberately distorting the facts to scare the public about a perfectly safe sweetener, the American Council on Science and Health announced today.

ACSH, a consortium of more than 200 scientists, was responding to unfounded charges by the Center for Science in the Public Interest that the no-calorie sweetener Acesulfame-K causes cancer.

Ace-K is currently used in sugar-free gum, instant puddings, gelatin desserts, and thousands of other foods. Its manufacturer, Hoechst, recently asked the FDA for permission to expand the sweetener's use to diet soft drinks. Ace-K is already used to sweeten soft drinks in Canada and Europe.

"CSPI's bogus charges are based on animal studies that the FDA thoroughly reviewed before it approved the use of Ace-K in 1988," says ACSH president Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. "The FDA found that those studies failed to show that Ace-K posed any cancer risk whatever. In dredging up old studies and deliberately distorting them, CSPI has enhanced its reputation as the nation's leading food terrorist group."

Dr. Whelan notes that the FDA reaffirmed its verdict on Ace-K in 1992, when it stated that the sweetener "has been thoroughly tested for safety." The sweetener's safety has also been endorsed by numerous international regulatory bodies including the Scientific Committee for Foods of the European Community and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the World Health Organization.

"Ace-K's safety is a non-issue that was settled years ago," Dr. Whelan says. "If the FDA approves its use in soft drinks, the American people will benefit by having a broader range of beverage choices. We find it curious that CSPI, a group with "public interest" in its name, tries so hard to deprive consumers of safe and useful products."