information gathered from the Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association has submitted a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission regarding McNeil Nutritionals’ (part of Johnson & Johnson) marketing of the artificial sweetener Splenda.
“The marketing campaign, which continually uses the word ‘sugar,’ is designed to confuse consumers into believing that Splenda is a low-calorie natural sweetener,” the letter reads. “Splenda is made through a complex chemical process that involves toxic chemicals, including phosgene gas. That’s hardly a process anyone would link to a natural product....
“Consumers are trying to eat healthy, natural foods and are closely watching what they put in their bodies.
Unfortunately, J&J is attempting to cash in on this trend by deceiving consumers that its product, Splenda, is natural. But Splenda doesn’t grow in a field like sugar cane or sugar beets, it’s made in a huge chemical plant. By using deliberately confusing marketing techniques, J&J is hurting family farmers across the country who can’t compete with chemicals masquerading as natural products.
“The most troubling aspect of J&J’s misleading marketing campaign is that it has been successful. The Center for Science in the Public Interest learned in a poll that nearly half of Americans have been taken in by J&J’s deceptions and believe that Splenda is a natural ingredient.”
OCA encourages consumers to send similar letters to the FTC. The relevant department’s address is: Division of Advertising Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20580.
• According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Academy of Sciences, standard chemicals are up to ten times more toxic to children than to adults, depending on body weight. This is due to the fact that children take in more toxic chemicals relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.
• According to EPA’s Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment, children receive 50% of their lifetime cancer risks in the first two years of life.
• According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, organophosphate pesticides (OP) are now found in the blood of 95% of Americans tested. OP levels are twice as high in blood samples taken from children than in adults. A study whose results were published in the March 2003 issue of Nature Genetics found exposure to OPs is linked to hyperactivity, behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental delays and motor dysfunction. OPs account for half of the insecticides used in the U.S.
• The Centers for Disease Control reports that one of the main sources of pesticide exposure for U.S. children comes from the food they eat.
• Over 300 synthetic food additives are allowed by the FDA in conventional foods. None of these are allowed in foods that are USDA certified organic.