Anti-Aspartame Campaign Launched in New Zealand

Equal sugar packets

Numerous reports, campaigns, and studies have evaluated the health risks of aspartame. You may not even be aware of it, because the campaigns are normally directed at the brand name under which it is sold. Names like Equal and NutraSweet are more known as the artificial sweeteners that are often claimed to be a healthy alternative to sugar.

Now, Phoenix Organics, a beverage company based in New Zealand, is launching their own campaign to warn people of the dangers caused by aspartame. Their campaign, “Think Before You Drink,” will see 20,000 bottles of their own Phoenix Organic Cola labeled with warnings, pointing to the potential health risks caused by aspartame.

In fact, Phoenix Organics has gone all out in their attempt to make people aware of the dangers of artificial sweeteners. A whole section of their website is dedicated to “information on aspartame”, with links to websites concerning New Zealand itself, such as products in NZ that contain aspartame, and links and references to independent research on aspartame.

“Having read the Bressler Report of the FDA and other reports on the effects of aspartame, we had the living daylights scared out of all of us,” said company directors Stefan Lepionka and Marc Ellis. “We cannot believe that the New Zealand government has declared this safe in the face of such evidence.”

Lepionka and Ellis are referring to the 1977 FDA’s Bressler Report [1], a 76 page report containing the investigation of G. D. Searle’s laboratory in Skokie, Illinois in to aspartame.

Research on Aspartame Dangers

Since the release of the Bressler Report, aspartame has been the focus of several clinical studies, which have revealed possible connections between aspartame and illnesses such as headaches, migraines, brain tumors, brain lesions and lymphoma.[2][3]

In 1995, FDA Epidemiology Branch Chief Thomas Wilcox concluded that reports showed aspartame to be the cause of 75% of all reports of adverse reactions to substances in the food supply, between 1981 & 1995 [4].

Additionally, a report by the Department of Health & Human Services in 1993 entitled ‘Adverse Reactions Associated With Aspartame Consumption’ found a total of 92 different symptoms and health conditions reported after consuming this artificial sweetener [5].

So when Phoenix Organics say that they have “…contacted a number of groups that have been fighting to raise awareness of the health concerns surrounding aspartame…” and pledged that the company “…will do whatever it can to support the overall aim to have the government restrict and ban aspartame,” you tend to believe they’re going out all guns blazing.

My Thoughts on Artificial Sweeteners

It is really sad that the FDA would allow such poisons to be introduced into our food supply. It makes me wonder if it is just another ploy to create more illness and prescribe people more pharmaceuticals. As a matter of fact, aspartame is even contained in some pharmaceutical drugs.

I personally recommend people replace all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin with all natural sweeteners such as organic agave nectar or raw locally harvested honey. Please read all labels and steer clear of these harmful substances.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. United States Food and Drug Administration. Bressler Report (PDF).
  2. Family Health Guide. Migrain Headache.
  3. John W. Oney MD, Nuri B. Farber, Edward Spitznagel, Lee N. Robins. Increasing brain tumor rates: is there a link to aspartame? Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology. 1996 November. vol.55(11).
  4. Reported aspartame toxicity effects (FAQ).
  5. Ralph G. Walton, Robert Hudak, Ruth J. Green-Waite. Adverse reactions to aspartame: double-blind challenge in patients from a vulnerable population. Biol. Psychiatry 1992 October 3 vol. 34 pp.13-17.

Free Sample E-Book: Learn How to Cleanse Your Body of Harmful Toxins Using Organic Methods

  • Rich Murray

    formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines, the first case series, Sharon E
    Jacob-Soo, Sarah A Stechschulte, UCSD, Dermatitis 2008 May: Rich Murray
    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Dermatitis. 2008 May-Jun; 19(3): E10-1.
    Formaldehyde, aspartame, and migraines: a possible connection.
    Jacob SE, Stechschulte S.
    Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miami,
    FL, USA.

    Aspartame is a widely used artificial sweetener that has been linked to pediatric and adolescent migraines.

    Upon ingestion, aspartame is broken, converted, and oxidized into formaldehyde in various tissues.

    We present the first case series of aspartame-associated migraines related to clinically relevant positive reactions to formaldehyde on patch testing.
    PMID: 18627677

    formaldehyde from many sources, including aspartame, is major cause of Allergic Contact Dermatitis, SE Jacob, T Steele, G Rodriguez, Skin and Aging
    2005 Dec.: Murray 2008.03.27
    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    “For example, diet soda and yogurt containing aspartame (Nutrasweet), release formaldehyde in their natural biological degradation.

    One of aspartame’s metabolites, aspartic acid methyl ester, is converted to methanol in the body, which is oxidized to formaldehyde in all organs, including the liver and eyes. 22

    Patients with a contact dermatitis to formaldehyde have been seen to improve once aspartame is avoided. 22

    Notably, the case that Hill and Belsito reported had a 6-month history of eyelid dermatitis that subsided after 1 week of avoiding diet soda. 22″

    Avoiding formaldehyde allergic reactions in children, aspartame,
    vitamins, shampoo, conditioners, hair gel, baby wipes, Sharon E Jacob, MD,
    Tace Steele, U. Miami, Pediatric Annals 2007 Jan.: eyelid contact
    dermatitis, AM Hill, DV Belsito, 2003 Nov.: Murray 2008.03.27
    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Sharon E. Jacob, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Dermatology),
    University of California, San Diego 200 W. Arbor Drive #8420, San Diego, CA
    92103-8420 Tel: 858-552-8585 ×3504 Fax: 305-675-8317 [email protected];

    Dermatitis. 2008 Jan-Feb;19(1):9-15.
    Systemic contact dermatitis.
    Jacob SE, Zapolanski T. [email protected];
    Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miami,
    FL, USA.

    Systemic exposure to allergens resulting in a cutaneous eruption is known as systemic contact dermatitis (SCD).

    Once sensitization occurs, varying exposures to antigens via multiple routes (including transepidermal routes, intravenous or intramuscular routes, inhalation, and ingestion) can result in systemic flare.

    This article highlights the different categories of common contactants,
    metals, medications, and plants, exposure to which leads to SCD.

    A comprehensive approach that takes into account all possible routes of exposure is essential in diagnosing SCD and in helping patients successfully avoid their allergens. PMID: 18346390

    “We present a case of a medical student who presented with erythematous
    eczematoid plaques on her trunk and legs and fine vesiculation of her scalp,
    3 weeks after starting anatomy class.

    Of note, she routinely washed her face and arms after leaving the anatomy lab, but remained in her scrubs for the rest of the day.

    Formaldehyde and Quaternium-15 positive reactions in the same patient. [ photo ]”

    “Our patient underscores the importance of appropriate patch testing and education.

    Once we identified the allergy to formaldehyde and quaternium-15, we provided patient education materials regarding the common and not-so-common locations of these chemicals and cross-reactors.

    We also gave the patient information on avoidance and safe alternatives (see
    Table 5).

    Fortunately, with technical advances, this student completed the anatomy section via electronic learning tools.

    By avoiding formaldehyde, including anatomy lab, FRP in her shampoo and cosmetics, and aspartame in her diet, this patient dramatically improved.

    As with all contact dermatitides, the mainstay of treatment for allergic contact dermatitis is avoidance.” Skin & Aging Journal ISSN:
    1096-0120 – Volume 13 – Issue 12_2005 – December 2005 – Pages: 22 – 27

    Allergen Focus:
    Focus on T.R.U.E. Test Allergens #21, 13 and 18: Formaldehyde and
    Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives — By Sharon E. Jacob, M.D., Tace
    Steele, B.A., [now MD] and Georgette Rodriguez, M.D., M.P.H.

  • Artificial Sweetner

    This is a pretty interesting campaign these guys are doing. I wish more people would do something like this here in the states. Because aspartame is a nasty, nasty additive to many “diet” products. I’d be interested in trying out the aspartame-free soda from Phoenix Organics too.

  • Beck

    nice post about the dangers of aspartame. more people need to know about the effects of aspartame on their body. Thanks for sharing this with me!

  • June Ray

    Check out

    Thanks for letting me post.

  • Charles Stewart

    Aspartame gives me a rash around my mouth and nasal creases. I have proven this by starting and stopping drinking diet sodas containing it about 5 times, and I am convinced the rash is due to it.

  • Lisa Marconi

    There are two movies that cover the dangers of aspartame, “Sweet Misery” and “Sweet Remedy” about Cori Brackett’s debilitating illness after drinking diet soda, and her recovery by detoxing. The films look at how the FDA’s approval process was subverted, and the corporate interests that profit from making people sick. For more information about aspartame, and other food additives, take a look at Cori’s site at
    Thank you for providing a forum for this life-saving information.

  • Dr. Group


    Thanks for posting this information for our readers.


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  • Simon MacDonald

    If I eat aspartame I get a migraine headache within minutes. It took me two years to track down the cause of my headaches. I kept a food diary of everything I was eating over that time. The big break happened when I realized the licorice candy I was eating had artificial sweetners.

    From a personal perspective I hope they ban aspartame all over the world. Go NZ!

  • Jim

    I have started a group on facebook firstly to alert people to the danger and secondly because it could be a powerful message to food manufacturers because there will be faces to the names. Please join the group and recommend it to your friends..

  • Marvin J. Rosenthal

    I laud your efforts and join with you in this vital educational dilemma.

    Stay well, be healthy,

    Marvin J. Rosenthal

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