Genetically Manipulated Food News

13 July 98

Table of Contents

English Nature (EN) warns Government
FoE Calls for Government Genetic Advisors to be Sacked
Prince Philip warns against over-farming
Duke urges sustainable farming
US lags behind in spelling out food data to consumers
Japan To Adopt Certification System For Organic Product
Garbling the Seeds of the Future
Brit. calls for temp ban on GE plantings
Farmer calls for court ban on gene test crops
Mad Cow Disease, Part 1
Aspartame: Seizures and other Hazards
Another Informant On Aspartame, Name Removed. They Know Its A Poison!

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Date: 9 Jul 1998 13:11:20 -0500
From: (jim mcnulty)

English Nature (EN) warns Government

FoE Welcomes English Natures Call for Caution on GE Crops

Friends of the Earth has today welcomed English Nature's (EN) position statement warning the Government over the risks to farmland wildlife through the release of genetically engineered organisms into the environment. The scientists at English Nature, the Government's statutory wildlife advisor, are calling for a three year moratorium on the commercial growing of genetically modified crops.

Adrian Bebb, Food Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: "This timely intervention by English Nature shows that bland assurances about the safety of genetically modified crops from the Government and industry must be treated with suspicion. The Government must listen to the concerns of its wildlife advisors' and call a moratorium on these Frankenstein foods before it is too late."

English Nature also raise concerns about the Government's advisory panel on the release of GMO's into the environment: the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE). English Nature is calling for statutory nature conservation agencies to be represented on the panel.

Adrian Bebb , said: "We share English Nature's concerns over the composition and role of ACRE. So far these advisors have not turned down one experimental genetic application. We have little confidence in a body which seems to favour the interests of the biotech industry over the safety of the environment."

Tomorrow organic farmer Guy Watson, with backing from Friends of the Earth and the Soil Association, is seeking a Judicial Review into the planting of an experimental genetically engineered maize crop in a field next to his organic farm. Mr Watson contends that there is a risk of cross pollination; and that the crop trial itself may be illegal as it breaches Government regulations. There will be a Press Conference outside the High Court at 9:30 am.

FoE Calls for Government Genetic Advisors to be Sacked

Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to sack its advisory panel on genetic food (ACRE) following revelations that most of the panel have close links to the biotech. industry. The news comes at a critical time in the mounting debate over genetically modified crops and the influence of industry on governmental decision-making.

Later today organic farmer Guy Watson, with backing from FOE and the Soil Association, will seek a Judicial Review into the planting of an experimental genetically engineered maize crop in a field next to his organic farm. Mr Watson contends that there is a risk of cross pollination; and that the crop itself may be illegal as it breaches Government regulations (a press conference will be held outside the High Court, The Strand, on Thursday at 9:30am).

The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) is the Government's statutory advisors on the release of genetically engineered crops into the countryside. So far the thirteen member panel has given permission to trial genetically engineered crops at over 500 sites around the country. Friends of the Earth's investigations into ACRE has revealed that:

Adrian Bebb, Food campaigner at Friends of the Earth , said: "How can people have confidence in the Government advisory panel when so many members have close financial links to the biotech. industry. You may as well put wolves in charge of a flock of sheep. Three quarters of the public don't want genetically-altered food, and the Government's own wildlife advisors are calling for a moratorium, yet the Government is still allowing this Frankenstein industry to drive ahead with its unproven products. If the Government wants to restore public confidence in its dealings with the biotech industry it should sack the ACRE panel and draft in people more likely to command public confidence."

Yesterday English Nature highlighted the threats to farmland wildlife arising from untested genetically modified crops and urged for changes to the regulatory regime controlling crop releases, for a moratorium on commercial production of engineered crops and for wildlife agencies to be represented on the ACRE panel.


[1] Members of ACRE have declared their interests. From this list FOE has compiled the following:
NameAssociationsNo.of ApplicationsNo. of test sites
Prof. John Beringerof Council of the National Environmental Research Council45
Dr Philip DaleSenior Research Scientist at John Innes Centre. He heads a department focussing on genetic engineering of oilseed rape.22
Mr John MacleodDirector of National Institute of Agricultural Botany. NIAB is conducting the National Seed List Trials.1 (by NIAB)
11 (for National Seed List Trials)
1 (NIAB)
163 (for Nat. Seed List Trials
Prof Nigel PooleExternal and Regulatory Affairs Manager at Zeneca Plant Science, a leading biotech Co.66
Dr David RobinsonPrincipal Research Scientist at Scottish Crop Research Institute Advisor to Nickerson Seeds5 (SCRI)
12 Nickerson
9 (SCRI)
12 Nickerson
Dr Ingrid WilliamsLeader of the Insect-plant interactions group, Institute of Arable Crop Research1 (since joining ACRE in 1996)3

In addition to the above the following two Committee members are directly involved in genetic engineering company's.
Dr Ian GarlandDirector of Research at PPL Therapeutics, the makers of Dolly the sheep.
Professor David Onionsconsultant to Q-One Biotec
Friends of the EarthE-mail:
26-28 Underwood StreetURL:
LondonTel: 0171 490 1555
N1 7JQFax: 0171 490 0881

Date: 9 Jul 1998 13:13:27 -0500
From: (jim mcnulty)GMO News 07/07

Prince Philip warns against over-farming

By David Brown, Agriculture Editor,
The Daily Telegraph July 7, 1998,Reports From The Royal Show

Prince Philip urged the government and the EU yesterday to protect the environment from intensive farming methods. One of the challenges facing the European Union, he said, was trying to ensure efficient food production without damaging the environment.

He said: "There are indeed many people in the world who are desperately short of food. But unless production from the land is sustainable in every respect, future generations will suffer even greater privations. "All life on earth is sustained by the biosphere. Nothing can justify its long-term degradation for short-term gain."

Prince Philip, a trustee of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, made his appeal as he opened this year's Royal Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. It coincided with the first display at the show of a small crop of genetically modified grain. The crop of bread-making wheat is being guarded round the clock to protect it from extremists. He stopped short of attacking the use of genetically modified crops, which were criticised recently by the Prince of Wales as taking mankind into the decision-making realms belonging to God.

The Prince's plea also coincided with a plea from supermarket chains for more support for organic farmers. A working group, including ASDA, the Co-op, Iceland, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose expressed their "frustration" at the lack of ongoing support which was restricting the supply of organic food available from British farms.

Earlier, a farmers' leader attacked the Chancellor for "walking away" from the economic plight facing the agriculture industry. Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales, criticised Gordon Brown for failing to ease the crippling effects of the strength of sterling which is blamed for a collapse in farmers' incomes over the past 18 months. Incomes fell by nearly 50 per cent last year according to Government figures and another heavy fall is expected this year.

"It is down to the Chancellor to do something to address this issue. He cannot go on walking away and saying, 'There is nothing I can do.' Thousands or jobs are at risk," he said.

However, Jack Cunningham, the Agriculture Secretary, defended the Chancellor, saying, farmers had received pounds 155 million of extra aid in the last year. The Country Landowners' Association called yesterday for a new, Europe-wide rural development policy. New ways had to be found to support rural areas in the face of a collapse in profits in the traditional farming sector, it said.

Duke urges sustainable farming

By Michael Hornsby, Agriculture Correspondent
The Times July 7, 1998, Tuesday

The Duke of Edinburgh made a plea for "sustainable agriculture" yesterday, issuing a warning against the dangers of increasing food production at the expense of the environment. Speaking at the Royal Show, the annual showcase of British agriculture held at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, the Duke said that land was the origin of all renewable resources and not just a supplier of food. But he later presented one of the show's main awards to a manufacturer of pesticide and herbicide spraying equipment.

Opening the show, the Duke said: "There are many people in the world who are desperately short of food. But unless production from the land is sustainable in every respect, future generations will suffer even greater privation. All life on Earth is sustained by the biosphere. Nothing can justify its long-term degradation for short-term gain."

He did not elaborate and stopped short of echoing the Prince of Wales's recent criticisms of genetically engineered crops, although he is thought to share some of his concerns.

Immediately after making his speech, the Duke was asked to present the Sir Roland Burke Perpetual Challenge Machinery Trophy, the show's premier machinery award. The award went to Case Sprayers, manufacturers of pesticide and herbicide spraying equipment.

For the first time, genetically modi fied crops are on display at the show: wheat implanted with extra gluten genes to improve its bread-making quality.

Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, the main organic farming body in Britain, called on the Government to make Britain the first "free zone" for genetically modified organisms in Europe. He said: "Members of the World Trade Organisation can request a ban on the import of products that could be a health risk." He hoped that Britain would bring a test case.

One of the many foreign visitors to the four-day show, Mike Akyeampong, Ghana's Agriculture Minister, announced that his Government was drafting legislation to control genetically modified crops.

US lags behind in spelling out food data to consumers

By Pedro Marques in Washington
Financial Times (London) July 7, 1998,

The US leads the world in requiring complete nutrition information on food labels, but lags behind many nations in providing consumers with basic information about ingredients, freshness, and processing of packaged foods, according to a report published yesterday.

The non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) found that in many other countries, ranging from the UK to Thailand, the labels of familiar American brands such as Nabisco Ritz crackers were required to list percentages of ingredients.

In contrast to Europe, Australia, and Japan, the US does not have any type of national requirement for freshness dating and has weaker rules for the listing of irradiated ingredients.

There is also no requirement to disclose whether a product is made with genetically engineered ingredients. In each case, the report strongly recommended that the US take a leaf from its trading partners' rule books. "Given the prevalence of diet- related diseases, nutrition labelling is a public health necessity," said Bruce Silverglade, the director of legal affairs at the centre.

As an example, the report says that a package of M&Ms in Thailand tells shoppers how much chocolate they can expect in each tiny morsel. In Singapore the labels tell customers when it is no longer fresh. US labels describe the saturated fat content of each package.

The report noted that US-based multinational companies, such as Nabisco or General Mills, provided freshness labels for products overseas while failing to provide that information on the same products sold in the US.

The report called on the Codex Alimentarius commission (Codex), a subsidiary of the World Health Organisation, to encourage the harmonisation of food labelling requirements worldwide.

Japan To Adopt Certification System For Organic Product

© Copyright 1998 Dow Jones & Co., Inc.

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will introduce a system to ensure items labeled as organic farm products meet certain standards, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Tuesday morning edition. The farm ministry will likely incorporate the Japan Agricultural Standard into the certification system, implementing it in fiscal 2000, ministry sources were cited as saying.

The ministry will manage the system, delegating day-to-day operations to prefectural authorities, public corporations and private companies with expertise in inspection procedures.

The move comes as consumers are paying more attention to food safety and supermarkets are stocking an increasing number of food products designated as organic.

The ministry drew up a set of guidelines governing organic farm products in 1992, defining them as crops grown in fields that received no agricultural chemicals or chemical fertilizer for at least three years. The certification system will monitor products from the production stage through processing and distribution. It will not cover livestock or marine products.



You will see that will be the return address for all emails both genetics and otherwise until we can afford new software. Hope this does not cause too much confusion!


Genetic Engineering Network PO BOX 9656, London, N4 4JY
0181 374 9516 (this no is for Genetics info)

For genetics action info on the web check out:


Contact for Reclaim the Streets: 0171 281 4621;

Garbling the Seeds of the Future

by Rural Advancement Foundation International,,
and from the Economist, May 16 and Feb. 2, 1998

Anyone who thinks new technologies are "only tools", which we can selectively use in whatever way we want, should look at the continuing transformation of agriculture. A few relevant developments:

It's a familiar pattern: subsidize a new technology to get people hooked, burn all bridges to the more sustainable practices of the past, and then (you can be sure this is the next step) start in again by developing a new round of commercially profitable, technological "fixes". (Genetically altered, salt-tolerant crops?)

(News taken from press releases of the Rural Advancement Foundation International,, and from the Economist, May 16 and

Feb. 2, 1998. Thanks to Neil Ruggles for passing along a report on seed- saving.)

Date: 10 Jul 1998 11:32:30 -0500
From: MichaelP

Brit. calls for temp ban on GE plantings

By Nick Nuttall, Environment Correspondent
London Times July 10 1998

A GOVERNMENT adviser joined the call for a temporary ban on commercial plantings of genetically modified crops yesterday.

Chris Haskins, nominated as one of Labour's new working peers and chairman of Northern Foods and Express Dairies, said concerns about the environment and safety needed to be addressed.

However, he feared that there could be a trade war with America, where many of the gene-altered crops that are coming into Britain or are being tested here have been approved. "If we can deal with the trade arguments then yes, my instinct is for a moratorium," he said.

Mr Haskins, who is a member of the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development, said a breathing space of three to five years was needed so that the public could regain confidence in government scientific opinion. He was sure that, if properly scientifically managed, genetically modified crops could be a benefit, especially in the developing world.

Mr Haskins said it was interesting to note that in America and Canada, where public concern over gene altered crops was negligible, the death rate from food born disease was far higher than in Britain. "There, the rate of mortality from food diseases is six times what it is in Britain. Equally they, the Americans, have taken the issue in their stride whereas the Europeans are taking the matter extremely seriously."

* A display of genetically engineered spring wheat was trampled on by half-a-dozen demonstrators at the Royal Show last night. The exhibit at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, had been arranged by a research council. There were no arrests.

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

Farmer calls for court ban on gene test crops

Deborah Collcutt reports on fears that cross-pollination could ruin an organic business )
London TIMES July 10 1998

AN ORGANIC vegetable farmer claims that the Government allowed genetically engineered maize to be grown near his sweetcorn crop in disregard of the law, the High Court heard yesterday.

In a legal challenge which could have implications for farmers intending to grow genetically modified crops, Guy Watson is seeking leave to appeal against a decision made by John Prescott, the Environment Secretary, not to halt seed trials near his farm in Devon.

The challenge is also against a similar decision made by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food concerning trials on land at Hood Barton, near Totnes, Devon, as well as a decision to allow the release of genetically modified organisms.

Mr Watson, of Riverford Farm, claims that he faces financial ruin if the genetically engineered maize planted just over a mile from his crops flowers this week and pollinates his organic sweetcorn.

"It would cost me between 10,000 and 20,000 pounds alone in terms of loss of the sweetcorn crop this year - never mind the damage to my reputation as a credible organic farmer. If the consumer chooses to eat organic food then they have a right to expect that and only that," he said. In court, counsel for Mr Watson, whose 1.5 million pounds mixed organic vegetable and dairy farm on 800 acres has made him a leading supplier to supermarkets and co-operatives in Britain, emphasised that it was a race against the clock.

Michael Fordham, QC, told the court that it would have to "move speedily" to give protection to Mr Watson's crop. He was told by the judge, Mr Justice Jowitt, that he was "hoping for the moon" if he believed that the case could go ahead in the coming days.

The judge said that it would be unfair to expect government lawyers and those acting for Sharpes International, which developed the seeds, to prepare all their evidence so quickly on such highly technical matters.

The hearing was preceded by a demonstration organised by Friends of the Earth protesters who marched with placards saying "No to Frankenstein's food". It comes after a series of attacks on genetically engineered crops throughout Britain by saboteurs who claim that seed trials are being embarked upon without the proper government consent and public consultation.

The court heard yesterday that Mr Watson was not asking for a ruling on the issue of cross pollination but rather for the consent for the feed trials to be reconsidered. because it was procedurally flawed.

The government advisers on seed trials, the Advisory Committee on Releases into the Environment, reported that the likelihood of cross pollination in Mr Watson's case was "zero" because of the distance involved.

Mr Watson, 38, claims that because of prevailing winds in the valley and the need to prevent one ear of his sweetcorn coming into contact with genetically engineered maize "zero likelihood" rather than "zero guarantee" is not good enough.

He said: "Organic food is all about marketing and winning consumer trust. If you lose that trust then you lose that business, it's as simple as that. I employ 70 people and have lived on this farm all my life. I'm not prepared to lose it all." Mr Fordham told the court there was also a legal difference of opinion over the risks of cross pollination.

The seed trials themselves were also flawed, Mr Fordham suggested, because they were being carried out by the wrong agents. The National Institute of Agricultural Botany, a government-linked group which registers new crop strains, was licensed by ministry on behalf of Sharpes International instead of the seed company and the Ministry of Agriculture running the trials.

The representative for the government ministries told the court that the correct procedure had been followed. In addition, Mark Hoskins, counsel for the Department of the Environment, told the court that the maize strain in question, T.25, has already been approved by the European Commission and member states and is about to be licensed in France after which it will be available for general sale to anyone.

The judge is to give his decision later today.

The crops

Beet for sugar making and for cattle fodder. Genetically engineered for tolerance to herbicides. Carry DNA from soil bacteria. Agrobacterium is tolerant to glyphosate made by Monsanto. Streptomyces gives tolerance to glufosinate-ammonium.
Vegetable oil products. Genetically engineered to be tolerant to both herbicides.
Being developed as cattle fodder. Genetically engineered to be tolerant to glufosinate-ammonium. Companies involved Monsanto (US), AgrEvo (German), Novatis (Swiss), Advanta (British/Dutch).

** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. **

Date: 10 Jul 1998 16:14:06 -0500
From: MichaelP

You should all be subscribed to the Rachel list - but - here's one directed at those who are not

MichaelP. .

---July 9, 1998---
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Mad Cow Disease, Part 1

Part 1
Descriptor terms

Part 1

In 1985, cows in Britain began to die of a mysterious ailment that no one had ever seen before. The symptoms were strange. At first the cows staggered and drooled, their ears twitching. Then they began to show signs of fear, grinding their teeth, acting aggressively toward other animals. Soon they died. Farmers named the condition "mad cow disease" and the name stuck.

The disease is now known formally as "bovine spongiform encephalopathy" or BSE for short. BSE is one of a small family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs. TSEs destroy neurons, the main nerve cells in the brain, creating holes that leave the brain resembling a sponge (thus "spongiform"). BSE, like the other TSEs, is an infectious disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from one cow to another.

During the 13 years since it first appeared, mad cow disease has killed more than 167,000 cows in Britain[1] and many more became infected but were slaughtered for food before symptoms appeared. Symptoms take an average of 5 years to show up after a cow is infected. Until the late 1990s, there was no test that could detect whether a cow was infected -- only the appearance of symptoms and microscopic examination of the brain could provide a definitive diagnosis. (Even today, tests require brain tissue, so they cannot be conducted on live animals.) British-type BSE has now been observed in cows in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, France, Oman and the Falkland Islands. To date, the disease has not been observed in cows in the U.S.

When the disease first struck in Britain in 1985, health authorities insisted that British beef was safe to eat. For 10 years they defended that position aggressively, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Then in 1996, the official story changed suddenly and the public was stunned. A panel of government scientists told Parliament in 1996 that the "most likely explanation" for 10 cases of a new TSE disease in humans was that BSE had moved from cows into people. That explanation is now widely accepted by most scientists, though airtight evidence remains elusive.

By the time of the stunning announcement in 1996, some British experts calculated that more than a million infected cows had already been consumed in Britain.[2]

In humans, the BSE-like disease is called "new variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease," or nvCJD for short. Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD) is a member of the TSE family, a brain-destroyer. CJD has been recognized for a long time as a rare disease of the elderly -- very similar to Alzheimer's disease -- but nvCJD is different. It has somewhat different symptoms, a different pattern of disintegration in the brain, and it strikes young people, even teenagers. Between 1995 and early 1998, at least 23 people died of nvCJD in Britain and at least one in France,[3] the oldest of them age 42 and the youngest 15.

In January 1997, British epidemiologists tried to estimate how large the outbreak of nvCJD might become. They concluded that the data were not sufficient to allow a precise estimate: somewhere between 75 people and 80,000 people would eventually die of the new disease, they estimated.[4] Only time will tell. More precise estimates of the size of the problem are not possible because no one knows for sure how long nvCJD "incubates," how much time elapses between infection and the appearance of symptoms.

An excellent recent book by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, MAD COW U.S.A.--CAN THE NIGHTMARE HAPPEN HERE? tells the story of the emergence of mad cow disease in Britain, and the scientific and political battles that have ensued.[5] Despite the evocative title, the book is thoroughly-documented and carefully-written. Without oversimplifying the details, the book recounts a complicated story of medical discoveries, strongarm tactics by the beef industry, and waffling and coverup by governments on both sides of the Atlantic -- yet it reads as easily as a detective story.

As a piece of science writing -- a description of science as it plays out in the real world -- the book is an impressive accomplishment. By the end, the reader has absorbed several important lessons about public health policies distorted by big money, and about very serious threats to our first amendment right of free speech. Rampton and Stauber show that the U.S. beef industry will go to almost any lengths to try to prevent a public discussion of "mad cow" and the steps that the U.S. government still needs to take to prevent this disease from becoming an American problem.

In a nutshell: Mad cow disease developed because of a little-known but very-widespread modern agricultural practice -- farmers feeding dead cows to their cows, thus turning a vegetarian species into meat-eaters.

In Britain and the U.S., when a cow is slaughtered, about half of the animal cannot be sold for human uses -- the hide, bones, entrails, hooves, horns, fat, gristle and tough membranes are, by law, not permitted to be used in food. Obviously something else has to be done with these parts, to avoid creating a public health hazard.

Then there are "downer cows" that must be dealt with. Cows that cannot stand up, cows that collapse, and cows that die mysteriously are called "downers." Every year in the U.S. about 100,000 cows die of unknown causes. One day they are alive and the next day they are dead, and no one knows why. Something must be done with their carcasses.

In addition to downer cows there are thousands of pigs, horses, chickens, and sheep that die of unknown causes each year. To prevent public health problems, they must be disposed of. Then there is road kill -- deer, elk and other large mammals killed by motor vehicles.

In the U.S. all of these animals and animal parts end up at 280 "rendering" plants where they are ground up and boiled down. (The British call such plants "abbatoirs.") Up until the 1960s, the fat from rendering plants was generally used to make soap. But the invention of detergents, derived from petroleum, greatly reduced the demand for soap. As a result, the rendering industry had to develop new markets for its products. They hit on animal feed, and it became a great commercial success.

From the 1960s through the mid-1990s, rendering plants dried their rendered products, ground them into the consistency of brown sugar, and sold them for animal feed. Feed mills then mixed these animal by-products into various feed formulations -- about one-third for cattle, one-third for pigs and chickens, and one-third for pets.

Unfortunately, some of the animals sent to rendering plants (or abbatoirs) are sheep killed by a disease called "scrapie." Scrapie is another TSE, a member of the same family as BSE, CJD, and nvCJD -- one of those diseases that eats holes in the brain and invariably kills its victims. Scrapie takes its name from the way sheep act once they get the disease -- they rub up against a fence or a barn until they scrape away their wool, leaving raw wounds. Then they die.

Scrapie has been a well-known, though mysterious, disease of sheep for at least 200 years, but only recently have scrapie-infected sheep been fed to cows. Scientists who study mad cow disease believe that the illness crossed the species barrier from sheep to cows through contaminated feed. Indeed, the British in 1988 banned the practice of feeding animal carcasses to other animals and within seven years new cases of mad cow disease diminished quite dramatically from 900 to 1000 per week to 280 to 300 per week.[6]

The U.S., however, has been slow to act. Scrapie is well-established among sheep in this country. From October, 1988, to June, 1989, scrapie was diagnosed in 52 flocks of sheep in 20 states.[5,pg.104] Clearly, there was ample reason to ban the feeding of animal carcasses to animals in this country when the British took that action in 1988. However, the beef industry, and the rendering and feed industries, have generally opposed such precautionary measures.

TSEs have a very long incubation period. In cows, BSE takes three to eight years (average, five years) from the time of first infection to the appearance of symptoms shortly before death. CJD in humans has an incubation period of 10 to 40 years. Thus, by the time symptoms of BSE appear, many cows are likely to be carrying the infection silently. This was confirmed earlier this year in Switzerland when tests of brain tissues from 1761 cows revealed 8 infected animals without any symptoms, for a "silent" infection rate of 4.5 per 1000. This is 100 times as high as the rate of Swiss cows showing symptoms.[7] If this rate holds for Britain, it means that today there are about 460,000 British cows infected -- but symptom-free -- in a total herd of roughly 11 million.

TSE diseases are characterized by a long incubation period, and they are always fatal. Furthermore, the infectious agent is incredibly resistant to deactivation. Cooking infected meat, or even rendering it at high temperature, does not completely eliminate its infectivity. Animals get TSEs by eating infected animals or parts of infected animals, especially nerve tissues.

TSE diseases have now been identified in sheep, pigs, goats, cattle, deer, elk, mink, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, domestic cats, puma, cheetah, eland, kudu, Arabian oryx, myland, marmosets, macaques, chimpanzees and humans. In addition, a TSE has been reported in ostriches in a German zoo.[8]

Thus one might think the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would prohibit the feeding of any animals to any other animals, as the British did in 1988. But that is not what the FDA has done. Under pressure from the beef, rendering, and feed industries, in 1997 FDA only prohibited the feeding of ruminants and mink to ruminants.[1,8] Ruminants are animals that chew their cuds, including cattle, sheep, goats, deer and elk. Mink are included in the ban because they can get a TSE similar to mad cow disease.

FDA is still allowing the feeding of pigs to other animals, and the feeding of blood and gelatin from rendering plants to all animals. For example, many calves in the U.S. are being raised on a diet of dried blood taken straight from rendering plants. Pigs and chickens are still being fed rendered animal products. There are sound scientific arguments why this policy represents a form of Russian roulette being played with the health of the American public. Given that we are dealing with infectious diseases that invariably kill, the precautionary principle (see REHW #586) seems the only appropriate policy.

More next week.

--Peter Montague
(National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981/AFL-CIO)



  1. Michael Hansen, "The Reasons Why FDA's Feed Rule Won't Protect Us from BSE," GENETIC ENGINEERING NEWS (July, 1997), pgs. 4, 40. See also Lawrence K. Altman, "F.D.A. Proposal Would Ban Using Animal Tissue in Feed," NEW YORK TIMES January 3, 1997, pg. A14, which says BSE has affected 165,000 British cows.

  2. John Darnton, "Britain Ties Deadly Brain Disease to Cow Ailment," NEW YORK TIMES March 21, 1996, pgs. A1, A7.

  3. Associated Press, "Clues Found in Brain-Killing Process," NEW YORK TIMES February 10, 1998, pg. F7.

  4. S.N. Cousens and others, "Predicting the CJD Epidemic in Humans," NATURE Vol. 385 (January 16, 1997), pgs. 197-198. See also, David C.G. Skegg, "Epidemic or false alarm?" NATURE Vol. 385 (January 16, 1997), pg. 200.

  5. Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber, Mad Cow U.S.A. Could The Nightmare Happen Here? (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1997). ISBN 1-56751-111-2. Available from Common Courage Press, Box 702 Monroe, Maine 04951. Telephone (207) 525-0900; fax: (207) 525-3068.

  6. John Darnton, "Fear of Mad-Cow Disease Spoils Britain's Appetite," NEW YORK TIMES January 12, 1996, pgs. A1, A8.

  7. Debora MacKenzie, "BSE's hidden horror," NEW SCIENTIST (June 13, 1998), pg. 4.

  8. [Michael Hansen], "Consumers Union's Comments on Docket No. 96N-0135, Sustances Prohibited for Use in Animal Food or Feed; Animal Proteins Prohibited from Ruminant Feed, Draft Rule," April 28, 1997. Available from Michael Hansen, Consumer Policy Institute, Consumers Union, 101 Truman Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10703-1057; telephone (914) 378-2000.

Descriptor terms:


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Date: 12 Jul 1998 22:30:35 -0500
From: betty martini

Aspartame: Seizures and other Hazards

Mission Possible Radio transcript

Dear Lisa:

I thank you so much for the transcript from Dr. Blaylock's interview on Mission Possible Radio. I know that Dave Rietz will put it on and Jon Baum will put it on, and hopefully Mark Gold and others.

Because Dr. Blaylock answered so many of the questions that have been raised of late I'm going to put it on some of the lists. Several people have been waiting for it because of information on pilots, and some did not have audio to access it on the web sites, Dorway and aspartamekills. We hope all will spread it around. Dr. Russell Blaylock is a neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Please also spread to newsgroups.



At 01:46 PM 7/12/98 -0400, you wrote:

Dear Betty: Sorry for the delay. I didn't get to devote as much time to this yesterday as I had hoped.

Regards, Lisa (Mission Possible Pennsylvania)


Aspartame with Particular Attention to Seizures and Other Hazards to Aviation

ANNOUNCER: You are listening to Personal Achievement Radio, AM 1390 WZHF, and it's time now to turn the air waves over to Mission Possible Radio, dedicated to the eradication of aspartame as an additive in food preparation. Here are your hosts Jon Baum and Mark Baron.

JON BAUM: Welcome to Mission Possible Radio. My name is Jon Baum. Mark Baron is off today. Betty Martini is taking his place from Atlanta. Mark Baron, Betty Martini and myself are volunteers. In this hour show, you will learn about a sinister plot by Searle Pharmaceuticals, Monsanto Corporation and the United States goverment to unleash a very dangerous addictive drug on the world's population which causes symptoms as mild as migraine headaches to symptoms as serious as seizures, cancer, blindness, Alzheimers and death. Today we have a very special guest and I don't want to keep him waiting. Betty will you please introduce our guest Dr. Russell Blaylock.

BETTY MARTINI: Yes Jon. I'm delighted to introduce Dr. Blaylock. He has been in private neurosurgical practice for the past twenty one (21) years and at present, he is in neurosurgical practice in Jackson Mississippi with a Clinical Professor's Appointment at the Medical University of Mississippi. He's appeared on the 700 Club seven (7) times. He's appeared on Lifestyle Magazine Television Show and syndicated radio programs thirty (30) times discussing the effects of exitotoxins in food additives on the nervous system. He has written to over a dozen scientific papers on various subjects, chapters in three medical textbooks on brain trauma, a patient booklet on multiple sclerosis, and is in the process of writing another book on brain diseases and how to prevent them through nutritional methods. He is the author of "Exitotoxins: The Taste that Kills," and get this book if you're on the internet system, you can get this at otherwise you could call 1-800-643-2665. Welcome Dr. Blaylock.

DR. BLAYLOCK: Thank you Betty, I appreciate it.

BETTY MARTINI: Dr. Blaylock, tell us, what is an exitotoxin and where are they found?

DR BLAYLOCK: Well, an exitotoxin is a rather unusual group of compounds most of which are proteins that we're particularly concerned with. But, these are substances that when you expose brain cells to it which we call neurons, these brain cells become very hyper-exited so that they're firing their impulses very rapidly. They keep doing that until the cell becomes so exhausted it'll die and that's the reason we call that an exitotoxin.

Normally these substances in the brain for example, glutamate and aspartate are used as transmitter substances, that is a substance that allows these cells to communicate with each other. But these compounds are so toxic that the brain keeps them in minutely low concentrations. It is very carefully regulated. So anything that alters that so that these compounds increase, it can destroy brain cells and produce what we call neurodegeneration or degeneration of the brain and spinal cord.

Now, where they're found, they're found in various plant substances. As far as most people are concerned, you're most likely to be exposed to exitotoxins as food additives. One of them that most people are familiar with would be monosodiium glutamate or MSG. It occurs in various disguised forms, hydrolized vegetable protein, vegetable protein, soy isolate, etc.

Another form it is found in is one of the components of aspartame or NutraSweet, which is made of two amino acids, and methanol, phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Aspartic acid is an exititoxin that is approximately as powerful as glutamate as an exitotoxin and the phenylalanine is an amino acid that is known to produce seizures and act as a neurotoxin at high levels in the brain as well.

JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, can naturally occuring proteins be harmful to the brain?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well generally, the way things are arranged in nature, almost all of the amino acids occur as whole proteins, so that the body slowly assimilates it and breaks it down and converts it in the liver so that the level or concentration of their amino acids is always kept at moderately low levels, so that the brain is not assaulted by these dangerous proteins. And what hapens is when we start manipulating foods and drinks and creating sweeteners that contain high levels of these amino acids in isolation is the blood levels can get quite high in fact, tremedously high, and this results in a significant elevation of these amino acids in the brain and that's what has most of us worried is that it's at a level high enough to produce destruction of certain groups of brain cells and produce disease, seizures or even death.

BETTY MARTINI: Why are isolated amino acids so dangerous Dr. Blaylock?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, as I said the isolated amino acid is an unnatural situation in high concentrations. Normally the body keeps it low by assimilating or breaking down proteins very slowly so that the body can incorporate them in areas where they will not reach toxic levels, but it's a completely abnormal and artificial situation to have amino acids in high concentrations and I think this is one of the things that the general public needs to realize because a lot of the defenders of these food additives say well, "These are natural products, these are amino acids that are found in nature." They are not found in isolation and it is not normal for the human body to have plasma or blood levels that are extremely high as we see after one consumes NutraSweet or a meal with MSG in it. We are seeing blood levels that are not found in nature, if you consume normal foods you will never develop these high blood levels.


JON BAUM: Why do you think aspartame is so dangerous?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, a lot of the book that I wrote about exitotixins concerns glutamate, MSG and that sort of thing or the glutamate that accumulates naturally in the brain in pathological conditions, but the story of aspartame is that aspartame contains aspartic acid which is also an isolated amino acid that is just as toxic as glutamate. What makes aspartame particularly dangerous is that it contains three neurotoxins. Methanol is a very powerful neurotoxin, in fact the EPA controls methanol exposure very carefully allowing only very minute levels to be found in foods or in environmental exposures.

But, it's interesting that the level allowed in NutraSweet is seven (7) times the amount that the EPA will allow anyone else to use. So methanol is an extremely powerful neurotoxin. It can produce blindness, it can produce cellular destruction in the brain and spinal cord in particular the optic nerves that has to do with our vision. The second amino acid, aspartic acid of course is an exitotoxin that can product cellular exitation, cell death in the brain, it can alter the way the brain is formed in newborn babies that permanently changes the brain formation, results in behavioral changes in children, hyperactivity.

The phenylalanine can also alter how the brain is formed during the fetal formation of the brain and thereafter, it can produce lowering of the seizure threshold so you're more likely to have a seizure. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid are both well recognized neurotoxins. So this combination by putting three relatively powerful neurotoxins into one combination is just to me unbelievable.

BETTY MARTINI: Well, we've heard a lot about the blood brain barrier. Doesn't it prevent these amino acids from entering the brain?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, this is one of the other things that the defenders of these compounds, food additives, usually bring up is that the brain has a barrier system that would keep these toxic substances from entering the brain, and they are well aware that it's not true. There's an enormous amount of research, particularly recently in which the levels of this glutamic acid, aspartic acid and phenylalanine have been measured inside the brain after injestion of NutraSweet or MSG.

It has clearly shown that these substances accumulate in very high concentrations within the brain. One study which was recently done indicated that the previous studies that said phenylalanine does not increase in the brain, what it showed is that this really was kind of a deceptive study in that they homogenated or ground up the entire brain of these animals and measured phenylalanine levels. But, when they repeated this study and measured the amount of phenylalanine in particular areas of the brain they found the phenylalanine tends to accumulate in the critical areas of the brain so that while the whole brain has normal phenylalanine levels, these critical parts of the brain have very high phenylalanine levels.

For example, the hypothalamus which controls so many aspects of our functions, not just the endocrine system but it controls our heart rate, it controls the autonomic nervous system, the sleep/wake cycles, your appetite, it controls the emotional system -- this area of the brain has been shown to have very high accumulations of phenylalanine. The medula oblongota at the brain stem accumulates it, the corpus striadem which is related to Parkinson's Disease, all of these areas are known to accumulate phenylalanine. So this shows that how these studies can be somewhat deceptive until we look closer at them.

JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, can we hold that thought and we'll be back in a few minutes.



JON BAUM: Welcome back. We're here with Betty Martini, myself Jon Baum and Dr. Russell Blaylock. We were talking about the hypothalamus gland and how it's affected by aspartame. Dr. Blaylock?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Yes, basically what we're talking about is the blood brain barrier protecting the brain against these things that are in our diet and what I was showing is that when we measure the actual brain level of these chemicals, they're passing right through the barrier. We know that there is areas of the brain which have no barrier and that these substances can enter through there and concentrate at very high concentrations and this is not just theoretical but we measure the actual levels in these parts in the brain. The hypothalamus is so important in controlling our endocrine system that has to do with thyroid function, adrenal gland function, reproductive function, growth, so this is a very important area of the brain and we know that phenylalanine can severely alter that and that's one of the components of NutraSweet.

We know that the exitatory type transmitter is critical in that area of the brain so any alteration in its concentration, for example aspartic acid in NutraSweet can alter that function in the hypothalamus and as I said it affects the autonomic system as well and there may be some important connection between the accumulation of these chemicals in the hypothalamus and sudden cardiac death and that's something that I'm researching for this new book that I'm working on at the present time.

JON BAUM: What is the connection between aspartame and MS?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, what we know about MS is during the periods of exacerbation, that is when the symptoms get worse, the barrier system around the parts of the brain that contains the nerve fibers, that is the myelin, this tends to break down. When that breaks down any substance in the blood can enter that part of the brain so that if your blood has high concentrations of phenylalanine, or aspartic acid and methanol, it's going to seep through these holes or openings in this barrier system and go directly into the damaged areas of the brain and greatly aggravate it.

A person may have what we call subclinical MS. That is they're not even aware they have it. When they drink NutraSweet they'll develop all of the symptoms of full blown MS and become deathly ill. There's some evidence that NutraSweet in a person that consumes a large concentration can develop an MS-like syndrome, that is they develop a lot of the symptoms of MS that is purely due to the toxic affects of the compononents of NutraSweet.

BETTY MARTINI: Dr. Blaylock, we have just been flooded with complaints from pilots. Three American Airline pilots that were heavy users of aspartame have died. One just recently had a stroke and some have said that pilots affected by disorientation, blindness, vertigo and other neurological symptoms are in fact suffering from hypoglycemia. Is that true?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, this is something that I had explored early on that really was not being paid any attention to was the connection bwteen hypoglycemia and aspartame toxicity, and what we find is that all exitotoxins, their toxic effect is greatly magnified in the presence of hypoglycemia. For instance let's say a pilot is trying to make a schedule, he skips breakfast instead he has a diet cola with NutraSweet. His blood sugar is going to be low but he would be essentially asymptomatic or just maybe feel a little hungry or slightly weak from it but with that hypoglycemia in the presence of NutraSweet he would develop a full blown syndrome of exposure to NutraSweet with disorientation, blurred vision, confusion, may have vertigo, that is the sensation of dizziness. All of these things may become full blown in the presence of hypoglycemia that may be the connection between the two. There's also evidence that NutraSweet itself may trigger a hypoglycemic reaction so that at that point if the pilot was to drink NutraSweet, it could induce hypoglycemia and again that would compound the toxic effect the of NutraSweet. So that could be the connection there.

BETTY MARTINI: Is it depleting glucose in the brain? Is that how it works?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Yes, it's denying glucose to brain cells and of course glucose is the primary fuel for the brain and without glucose most people would quickly lapse into a coma. So its very important that the blood sugar falls in low or even moderately low levels in the presence of a neurotoxin like one of these exitotoxins. It can produce rather profound confusion, disorientation and visual difficulties and of course they're at a very high susceptibility to seizure at that point, so if the blood sugar is low and they're taking in something that we know lowers the seizure threshold, they are at a very high risk of developing seizures. So I think that to allow pilots to continue this practice is extremely hazardous considering that they are responsible for hundreds of people on the plane, you know that's just irresponsible.

BETTY MARTINI: How about the wood alcohol and the altitude. Does the altitude play a part in this?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, the wood alcohol of course is a very powerful neurotoxin and we know that it's especially toxic to the optic nerves and what happens in the case of NutraSweet is that it's an esterified methanol, that is its what binds the phenylalanine to the aspartic acid but once in the body it quickly breaks down so that it accumulates directly in the tissues and can produce significantly high levels within the tissues. So that would affect the pilots vision.

We don't really know the additive affect of phenylalanine with the neurotoxin methanol and aspartic acid because we do know from other experiments that neurotoxins tend to have additive effects when they're combined so to put three neurotoxins into one compound is going to greatly magnify its toxic effect much moreso than the individual compounds themselves.

So any altitude change, of course change in the oxygen content, anything that's going to change the ability of the neuron to produce energy is oing to magnify the toxic effect of these compounds.


JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, while we're on this subject we only have a couple of seconds left in this segment, but how does the body know to deplete its glucose supply?

DR. BLAYLOCK: How does it know when it's depleted?

JON BAUM: No, how does it know to deplete it?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, it's just part of the natural metabolism but recently what's important that we found out is that caffeine greatly magnifies the symptoms of hypoglycemia so that you can have even a moderate lowering of your blood sugar in the presence of caffeine and you'll have severe hunger, severe disorientation and confusion and jitteriness, nervousness. The way it does that is that it stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete ephedrine and norephedrine, two compounds that are produced by phenylalanine that's found in NutraSweet. So that the NutraSweet may be doing the same thing in that it makes even moderately low hypoglycemia quite severe in terms of the symptoms.

JON BAUM: So you're going to have the effects of the ephedrine and norephedrine as well?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Right, and that's what produces most of the symptoms that we associate with hyoglycemia is that secretion, so you're artificially doing that by raising the phenylalanine levels in your blood.

JON BAUM: O. K. Betty do you have a quick question for Dr. Blaylock? We're going to go on a break in about a minute.

BETTY MARTINI: Well, we'd like to know, are there other conditions that would make one more sucseptible to the adverse effects of aspartame?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, we know that there are alot of different conditions that occur every day, for instance, let's say a person is having some problem with the different electrolytes in their blood and their sodium content for whatever cause. Maybe the've had a fever or haven't been drinking enough water, that makes them more suseptible to seizures. If they've skipped meals and have hypoglycemia they're more suseptible to seizure. They could have a silent lesion in their brain for instance, a scar from an old injury when they were a child or at birth, they could have cavernous a.v. malformations which is generally a lesion you wouldn't even know you had but if you're exposed to NutraSweet it could precipitate a seizure in all of those conditions.

JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, we're going to take a break right now. Thank you very much.

DR. BLAYLOCK: Your welcome.


JON BAUM: We're back, with Mission Possible Radio. Our guest is Dr. Russell Blaylock. I'm Jon Baum. We have Betty Martini on the line with us.

BETTY MARTINI: Jon, you know I think our listeners at this point realize how serious this problem is, so I'd like to again give this number where they can get Dr. Blaylock's book. It's a wonderful book, "Exitotoxins: The Taste that Kills," and if you're on the internet system...

JON BAUM: Let me give the website real quick.


JON BAUM: We have a web site and if you go to that web site you'll see Dr. Blaylock's book right on the top. All you have to do is click on that book and you'll be taken to Mission Possible will get a small donation from them. We'd appreciate it and you can also call an 800 number. Betty?

BETTY MARTINI: OK, and that is 1-800-643-2665 and now we want to get into an issue that is really serious, it is the one about seizures and aspartame. We know that on the FDA report there are four different types of seizures triggered by aspartame that are documented by the FDA. We know that a pivotal study done on monkeys said five of them had grand mal seizures and one died. However with industry experimental results seems to indicate that aspartame doesn't precipitate seizures. So, what about humans Dr. Blaylock?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, the thing that's interesting about a lot of these studies is that most of them were done on rats or mice and rats and mice metabolize phenylalanine and aspartame much different than humans do. Humans mostly will have an elevated phenylalanine levels in the blood, whereas the mice and rats will develop a different amino acid, tyrosine, so that makes a lot of difference in experiemental results. The other thing is that rats require a two time higher dosae and mice a seven times higher dose of aspartame than would humans to produce the same increase in plasma phenylalanine. So this means that humans are seven times more sentitive than mice and two times more sentitive than rats to aspartame seizure potential.

So that makes a lot of difference. The other things is that humans are consuming this aspartame chronically, that is every day, several times a day, where most of these experiments were done giving a single dose or maybe two doses of aspartame, so the human situation is a lot different. Also in humans they are consuming exititoxins in other forms, MSG, hydrolized vegetable protein. As I stated the additive effect of these things is much worse than is single exposure. The other thing that makes a lot of difference is the form in which you consume the aspartame.

We know that liquid exitotoxins are much more toxic and much more likely to produce seizures than are solid forms, that is solid foods. Encapsulated aspartame is used in a lot of the experiments and its poorly absorbed, only 50% of it is absorbed. So a lot of these experiments either by design or by ignorance of the various metabolic effects of aspartame are purposely or inadvertently not applicable to humans. The human cases, we have many, many clinical cases of seizures that are precipitated by aspartame products that are actually double blind studies not designed that way but, they end up double blind studies. So we have good evidence that in humans aspartame causes seizures.

JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, I think you already answered this, is there a way to doctor experiemental results so that you get the results you want, that is, fix the results to show that a dangerous compound is safe?

DR. BLAYLOCK; Sure, in the book I go through this in some detail, show some of the methods that's been used by people either who were paid by the companies to produce resarch that gave them the result they wanted, or just poor design of the research project had that result. You can throw away data, you can hide data, you can use special blocking anesthetics on the animals that are known to block exitotoxin effects, that's been done. You can feed high carbohydrate meals at the same time to help reduce the effects of it, as I said you can use an encapsulated form of aspartame that is poorly absorbed. There's just a lot of different ways that you could do it.

Now one of the things about exitotoxins and seizures, recently it was found that the time of day that you feed these animals the exitotoxin made a lot of difference. For example when they fed them at 7:00 a.m. they had a significant increase in the number and intensity of seizure and much reduction in the seizures when given at 3:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. Nearly 70% of the animals died in status epilepticus, that is a seizure that won't stop and animals given these exitotoxins at 7:00 a.m. versus later in the day so that all sorts of variables can make a lot of difference in the sensitivity and how you can doctor things to get the results that you want.

BETTY MARTINI: Are there medical conditions that are completely without symptoms that can be precipitated by substances such as aspartame and MSG?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Exactly, for example in my book I give the case of a man who was drinking Crystal Light sweetened with NutraSweet which seems to be cropping up a lot and I don't know what it is about Crystal Light but we have certainly a lot of seizures are being reported with the use of that compound, I mean that particular substance. But in this man he had an abnormal condition of his brain which was a little abnormal vein deep in his brain which in most people you wouldn't even know you had it and could go through life never having a single symptom, but he was consuming, at that point, a large amount of Crystal Light sweetened with NutraSweet and he developed a grand mal seizure. When this lesion was found it was not necessary to be surgicaly treated because it was a benign condition.

All they did was take him off NutraSweet and the seizures cleared up. There is a lot of conditions like this. You could have scars in your brain and for instance during a difficult birth sometimes it will produce a small scar in the brain that may be completely without any symptoms and you'd never know you had it, but if you were exposed to something like NutraSweet which lowers your seizure threshold, out of the blue you'll have a seizure. Now, these are the types of things that we don't know beforehand that makes certain groups of people highly susceptible to seizures. And this may be happening in some of the pilots. They may have lesions in their brain that no one would have any way of even knowing it was there, until they're exposed to NutraSweet under these conditions, and then they have full blown seizures.

JON BAUM: I believe an acquaintance of mine came by my office and told me about a horrific experience he had with one bottle of Crystal Light, and he was driving home on Route #66 and started having convulsions. He was lucky he pulled his truck over.

DR. BLAYLOCK: I don't know what it is about Crystal Light, whether they use a higher dose or what but it certainly crops up a lot. Another interesting story I had, I did a radio program in another city and I was talking to the station manager and he said while we were talking before the program, he said you know I've been on a diet, and I'm using NutraSweet, and he said I've had a lot of problems with my memory, I get disoriented, confused, he said "Do you think it could be that?" And of course I took him off of it and his condition cleared up.

But you know, this is just so common. These symptoms are the most common symptoms reported to the FDA and we're talking about thousands and thousnds of complaints around the nation every year and most of them have to do with the nervous sytem. I catalouged them according to their system in the body and in fact by far the majority of the symptoms are in the central nervous system. complaints

JON BAUM: I just got passed a note that says that both Nutra System and Jenny Craig Diet Plans use Crystal Light as a water substitute, do you know anything about that?

DR. BLAYLOCK: I have heard that some of the diet systems are advocating Crystal Light and I shudder when I see that. I think anyone who is going to go on a diet and take NutraSweet products, you are putting yourself at the maximum risk. If you are on a low calorie diet that lowers your blood sugar then that greatly increases your chances of having a seizure, cardiac problems or neurodegenerative changes in your brain. I think that's very hazardous.

BETTY MARTINI: Dr. Blaylock of course, we are flooded with complaints day and night and you're right they're neurological, central nervous system problems. You were mentioning Crystal Light and we get so many complaints on it, it's interesting that one of them came from an actress who had to advertise Crystal Light and she said she could hardly get through it, she had so many gastrointestinal complaints and we also seem to get a lot of them on Diet Kool Aid. These powders that are mixed with aspartame as if it's just chemicals and aspartame and they seem to be the top complaints of products like this but, Crystal Light is right up at the top.

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, it may be that in both cases Kool Aid and Crystal Light is because people drink such large volumes. Some of the people I've talked to that's had Crystal Light problems, it's a drink that you can drink a lot of. You know a Diet Cola, you may not drink the volume that you would drink of Crystal Light or of Kool Aid. Children are particularly susceptible with Kool Aid and there's special ADD patients who have had just horrendous problems with NutraSweet that cleared up once they got off of it so, the mothers need to really be careful about those two drinks and I think it's because the people drink a lot larger volume and therefore are getting a higher concentration of the NutraSweet than they would in diet colas or other forms.

JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, we touched lightly on ADD and ADHD. What are learning disorders that aspartame can aggravate or even cause?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, this is something that's of a lot of concern to people that particularly work with ADD children and ADHD which is the hyperactive form of Attention Deficit Disorder. One of the persons involved is Dr. Keith Connors who has written the book called "Feeding the Brain: How Foods Affects Children." In this book he talks about a four year old child who was drinking some aspartame sweetened rootbeer and just became berzerk. The child was hyperactive, violent, complaining of headaches and the doctor suggested to stop the NutraSweet sweetened rootbeer. The mother took it away, the child just returned to normal, pleasant, normal mentation, no headaches and she was kind of skeptical so she decided just to let this child start drinking it again. She did and the same thing happened. He gives case after case like this which if you examine what we're talking about is actually doing double blind studies in single individual cases which demonstrate quite clearly that the only variable is the NutraSweet.

So this is producing some ADHD type problems that are very clear. Now one of the studies that was done, a two part study by Freider and Grimm is an Israeli study at the University there, tried to determine what was causing some of these problems with mentation. They fed pregnant mice an exitotoxin, and they found that the offspring had a normal appearing learning for simple things but for complex learning they were severely impaired. And when they studied the brains to see why, they found out that the neurotransmitter called acetyl choline had been reduced 80% and remained reduced throughout the entire childhood period of that animal. So what we're seeing is a profound change in the chemistry of the brain of children that are exposed to these exitotoxins while they're still inside their mother during the developmental period.

Subsequent studies, one in Neuroscience Behavioral Review in 1993, found that nutrition was probably the single most important environmental influence on the development of the brain in the fetus and another study in 1995 in BioMedicine and Environmental Science found that these exitotoxins severely effect the hypothalamus in newborn babies so that the wiring or how all these different neurons connect to one another may be altered and would be altered permanently so that the child's hypothalamus would not work properly throughout the rest of their life, and this can effect immunity as well, so that the immune system is totally altered thorughout the rest of their life.

Another interesting study in children found that when pregnant mothers were fed glutamate and other exitotoxins they had a dramatic increase in free radical formation in the offspring and that continued all through adolescence. It increased free radical formation 56%. That's damaging the brain cells, throughout all that period. So we have a multitude of research papers that have been done and studies that have been done that shows these exitotoxins have a profound damaging effect on the development of the brains of newborns. Even when these children are exposed to it after birth, they have severe changes in their brain and many of these things are not reversible so pregnant women drinking NutraSweet may be doing enormous amounts of damage and we've known that ironically the phenylalanine from NutraSweet in the mother's blood concentrates inside the blood of the baby two fold, that is the level inside the baby's body is twice as high as it is in the mother, and that pregnant women actually have higher concentrations than non-pregnant women so this baby's getting an even higher concentration of this brain- toxic chemical.

The same thing can happen with glutamate and aspartate. They are also transferred into the baby in high concentrations. So we have good evidence that drinking Nutrasweet and exposing the child's brain to these exitotoxic substances can produce significant alteration in the brain formation.

BETTY MARTINI: I'm glad you went into that Dr. Blaylock. I was about to ask you some questions about it. Dr. Louis Elsas testified before congress that aspartame is a neurotoxin and a terotagen that triggers birth defects and even pediatric genetics and there is no warning on aspartame and that's almost criminal because we've gotten many complaints from mothers who said they didn't know and they'd lost as many as seven babies using diet drinks. But, I'd like to ask you, are the effects of exitotoxins reversible?

DR. BLAYLOCK: Well, generally what we find is that there's two types of effects by exitotoxins, one is with massive doses it will kill the cells, that is it will kill critical areas of brain cells particularly in the hypothalamus. Once they're gone, they're lost.

The second effect is what we call the physiological effect, that means it alters how the cell functions but if you stop the toxin, the cell can recover and return back to normal and we've seen that clinically, particulary in children in which they develop this severe violence and hyperactivity and uncontrollable behavior, that if you stop the NutraSweet, they return to normal. They're nice, pleasant children without headaches who can learn normally, so a lot of these things are reversible. and we also know that if these children would continue to consume NutraSweet over long periods of time it can become permanent.

There have even been cases of children that need to be institutionalized because of prolonged exposure to high concentrations of aspartame. So its critical that mothers, if they're pregnant and they're drinking Nutrasweet to stop now. If they're letting their children have it, to stop now. It's just something so critical they can't wait, they need to stop it now. They can't ween off of it, they can't procrastinate about it, they need to stop it right now.

BETTY MARTINI: I know that we don't have too much time left and I wondered if Dr. Blaylock, you could touch on one of the breakdown products diketopiperazine, not too many people relaize that aspartame is a drug an that it breaks down into a witches brew of toxins and that it did in lab animals trigger astrocytomas in rats.

DR. BLAYLOCK: In fact that was the first red flag that came up and this experiment was done by G. D. Searle Company. I discuss that in some detail in my book, how all of this came about. But what was interesting was that their own laboratories showed that there was a tremendous increase in brain tumors in the experimental animals exposed to NutraSweet and that it was dose related. The higher the dose, the more brain tumors. There was a forty-seven (47) fold increase of brain turmos in their mice. The longer the mouse was exposed to it, the higher the incidence of tumors. The older it became, the more likely that a tumor would develop.

I have received numerous phone calls and letters and e-mails from young women all over the country who have been heavy NutraSweet users who have astrocytomas. There's an unexplained increase in astrocytomas in the United States and the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the Tumor Registry have no idea why. Dr. Olney, John Olney, gave a news conference in which he tried to explain it but unfortunately I don't think enough people understood that importance attached to this news conference. And what they need to do is look at the Jerome Bressler Report which is a government report of the research that was done in this area.

As Betty says, what happens in NutraSweet the longer it sits in that can or baked goods, it is broken down into diketopiperazine which is a cancer causing substance and it is thought to be the cause of the brain tumors, it's related to another substance that we use to induce brain tumors in experiental animals. So, if you read the book, I tell the whole story of the Bressler Report, the incidence of brain tumors and how they manipulated the results. It's an interesting story but it's also critical for that reason to avoid NutraSweet.

JON BAUM: Dr. Blaylock, we only have a few seconds left, exactly thirty, and I want to thank you for being on our show. I know your time is valuable. I want to thank Betty Martini from Atlanta and can we bring you on another time.

DR. BLAYLOCK: I'd be glad to.

JON BAUM: Thank you very much.

DR. BLAYLOCK: And I appreciate the opportunity.

BETTY MARTINI: Thank you Dr. Blaylock.

DR. BLAYLOCK: Thank you Betty.

JON BAUM: This is Jon Baum from Mission Possible Radio, we'll be back here next week, not sure who the guest is going to be. We were also on the nternet at, and all you have to do is hit the live feed and we thank our internet listeners. Good night.


  1. Take the 60-day No Aspartame Test and send us your case history.

    Mission Possible International
    5950-H State Bridge Rd. #215
    Duluth, GA 30097 USA

  2. Tell your doctor and all of your friends!

  3. Return Asparcidal food to the store. (anything with Monsanto's NutraSweet/Equal/Spoonful/Benevia/NatraTaste)
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Disability and Death are not acceptable costs of business!

Date: 12 Jul 1998 23:22:41 -0500
From: betty martini

Another Informant On Aspartame, Name Removed. They Know Its A Poison!

Dear XXX

Thank you for your note. You're right, so many know aspartame is a lethal poison. Anytime I have come across a Searle or Monsanto employee I've always been told the same thing "we were warned off aspartame and told it was a poison when we came to work, and we were told to warn our families off."

A few months ago a woman by the name of Kathy asked me for information and said: "I know NutraSweet is a poison but I need something in writing to give my customers. I was told you had something." I asked Kathy how she knew aspartame was poison and was told: "My exhusband worked for Monsanto as a researcher and the first day he came home and said they told him not to use NutraSweet because it was poison and warn his family off. Also he worked with the FDA and they told said they knew it was a poison but there was nothing they could do about it. He also said research was negotiable - how much you wanted to pay for whatever results you needed."

Where are we? Jeff Martin, attorney (918-583-4165) says tobacco will pale against aspartame. We have asked the Justice Department to do an investigation with no response. We have demanded the recall of aspartame from the FDA which they have ignored along with 26 questions they refuse to answer. Access for all the information.

Until we can get it off the market and it may take thousands and thousands of lawsuits throughout the world, our utmost concern is to stop the disability and death it is causing. Three American Airline pilots who were heavy users of aspartame have died, another one had a stroke. Mission Possible operations (a worldwide volunteer force) exist in many states in the US and many countries of the world. We distribute a warning flyer and other information. Aspartame which is a drug has been given blanket approval now by the FDA to be used like sugar so people are getting sicker quicker. Our mission is to see that every consumer on planet earth is warned. Thats all we can do until the government has to face the fact that the world knows aspartame is a neurotoxin, a deadly poison, and they have to act.

Searle, the original manufacturer did studies in South America, found out that aspartame is a killer and did not publish the studies, a crime. The translator has given us an affidavit and we have it on DORway. Could we have one from you?

Informants give us the same information as you have given us over and over. It just makes the cases stronger. Books are being written and aspartame has now been declared a disease by Dr. H. J. Roberts. His medical text on the worldwide plague will be available to the public in the next six months. This is one of the greatest scandals in US History, the mass poisoning of the American Public and 100 countries of the world. And the FDA sits back and does nothing about it. They are busy ordering that books

on Stevia b e destroyed lest the public find out there is a natural safe alternative to this poison. The FDA is a disgrace to this country and the world.



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