U.S. Federal Trade Commission
ATTN: Chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras
6th & Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W.
Washington, D.C. 205800
Re: Deceptive Advertising Aimed At Infants and Children
Dear Honorable Deborah Platt Majoras,
I am enclosing a copy of the full-page ad by Ajinomoto that appeared in the November 2004 edition of Functional Foods & Nautraceuticals. It is titled, "Remember your first taste of aspartame?" The companion photo depicts an infant feeding at its mother's breast.
The promo begins: "mothers' milk doesn't contain aspartame, but it might as well. Aspartame is made from things which occur in larger quantities in other parts of our diet, and our bodies digest it completely naturally." It concludes: "The principal components of aspartame are two building blocks of protein, just like those found in eggs, fruit, cheese or fish - and even in mothers' milk."
In my opinion - as a corporate-neutral physician who has extensively researched and published on "aspartame disease" for two decades -- this constitutes potentially dangerous deceptive misrepresentation. The chief reasons are (1) omission of other major components of aspartame, especially the 10% FREE methyl alcohol (methanol), (2) the profound adverse effects of the large amounts of its "two building blocks of protein" on neurotransmitters and other important systems, and (3) the absence of any reference to the terrible reactions induced by aspartame products in numerous infants and children.
I have extensively detailed these issues in several books, more than a score of medical/scientific publications, testimony to the U.S. Senate and an FDA advisory group, and my summarized professional opinion about the unwise use of aspartame products by pregnant women, infants and children. The testimony, "position paper", a brochure of ASPARTAME DISEASE: AN IGNORED EPIDEMIC, and my professional credentials are enclosed. The 1000 - page book reviews only the first 1200 aspartame reactors in my data base (It now exceeds 1400.)
I do not know in how many periodicals this ad has appeared. The potential adverse public health consequences from such promotion are ENORMOUS... based on the documented medical, neurological, psychological, metabolic, immune, genetic and carcinogenic effects of aspartame and its breakdown products. As a relevant point, I cite several breast-feeding infants who develop convulsions while their mothers drank a "diet" soda.
I am grateful for our First Amendment, I nevertheless believe that the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce and advertising MUST be invoked here. This includes (1) halting such ads aimed specifically and unfairly at infants and children because they are misleading "in a material respect," (2) demanding corrective ads that underscore the risks of aspartame products, and (3) totally removing aspartame products from the market as an imminent health threat. Indeed, many corespondents have decried their promotion for children as "crimes against humanity."
Let me express thanks for your interest and prompt attention to this profound matter in view of the inevitable corporate and political resistance such action will generate. But you MUST protect our children before it is too late!!
H. J. Roberts, M.D., FACP, FCCP
Attached was the Ajinomoto ad brochure about ASPARTAME DISEASE statement for U.S. Senate "position paper" professional credentials.
Comment From Dr. Betty Martini: