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Phoenix Organics Defends Aspartame Stance

18 February 2008

Media statement: For immediate release

Phoenix Organics Defends Aspartame Stance

Phoenix Organics will re-run an advertisement that recently drew the ire of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of NZ because it contained a claim that ‘some doctors and researchers’ believe aspartame can cause a range of ailments including MS.

Chief Executive Stefan Lepionka said his team had given the matter serious consideration before deciding to re-run the ad with no changes.

“In their letter to us, the MS Society stated that it was ‘well aware of the possible side effects of aspartame and have advised our regions accordingly,’” said Stefan Lepionka.

In its Feb 2008 newsletter referring to the Phoenix Organics campaign, the MS Society quotes a Dr Allen Bowling, who said: “it is sometimes recommended that people with MS should avoid all drinks and foods that contain aspartame.” He is then quoted as saying: “No definitive studies have shown aspartame to cause MS or worsen its symptoms. Limited studies indicate that it could provoke migraine headaches and worsen depression…”

Here we have a national body that is ‘well aware of the side effects of aspartame’, quoting an expert who says no ‘definitive’ studies have found a link (the inference being that there are studies out there but he doesn’t accept them), recommending they drink and eat products that could at the very least cause migraines and worsen depression.” said Stefan Lepionka.

“It seems that the MS Society has chosen to bury its head in the sand, rather than erring on the side of caution and simply telling its members to avoid this chemical.”

In their letter to Phoenix Organics (attached) the MS Society demanded we forward our research to them.

“Our references were dismissed as ‘anecdotal’. This is the key issue. Consumers are unaware of the growing body of research suggesting aspartame can cause a whole lot of problems, from headaches and dizziness through to depression, ADHD and cancers.”

“New Zealanders deserve better.”

Dr Woodrow Monte, a retired academic and researcher living in New Zealand is convinced of a link between MS and aspartame. He has written a number of articles, which can be found at

Dr Monte has said: “The symptoms of multiple sclerosis, chronic and acute methanol poisoning, and Aspartame toxicity, are in all ways identical. There is nothing that happens to the human body from the toxic effect of methanol that has not been expressed during the course of MS…nothing.”

Abby Cormack was initially tested for multiple sclerosis, when her problems began to surface. Virtually as soon as she stopped using products containing aspartame the symptoms disappeared.

The Food Safety Authority, and food and beverage manufacturers, continues to maintain that aspartame is ‘safe’ because industry-funded research says it is, while dismissing examples of people suffering from aspartame poisoning as ‘anecdotal.’

“Many New Zealanders are enduring some very unpleasant ‘side effects’ because they, or their doctor, simply don’t link their ill-health to the food and drink they’re consuming,” said Stefan Lepionka.

Phoenix Organics launched its ‘Think Before You Drink’ campaign late last year to raise awareness of the possible health risks associated with aspartame.

Initiatives undertaken to date include:
• Printing 20,000 specially branded bottles of Phoenix Organic Cola with labels highlighting the concerns about aspartame
• Developing advertisements to highlight the issue
• Establishing dedicated pages at where people can find out more about aspartame. A number of people have posted their experiences with aspartame here.
• Distributing and publicising the Safe Food Campaign’s anti aspartame petition. Several thousand names were recently forwarded to the Safe Food Campaign.
• Calling a meeting between a number of groups working to get aspartame banned or restricted and sharing information.
• Official Information Act requests lodged with the Ministry of Health and NZFSA.

Thirty years ago the first reports of birth defects in the babies of women exposed to 245-T began to surface in this country. NZ authorities took note of a US Dept of Agriculture directive that found no link. Our health authorities investigated two cases reported here and found a possible link in the case of one woman and none in the other. 245-T (and dioxin) continued to be used in this country for nearly ten years before the weight of evidence became overwhelming.

“Is history going to repeat itself in the case of aspartame?”


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