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The Cargo Cult of Business » Sweetest Poison

Sweetest Poison

Published on 19 Sep 2005 at 5:00 pm | 2 Comments | Trackback
Filed under The Cargo Cults of Business, Manifest Masquerade, Winners and Losers, One Corporation Under God, Limited Lie-ability, In Corporations We Trust, Business and Corporation Related, Health and Safety, Legal, Law, and Courts, Government: Federal, State and Local, Branding and Values, Public Relations and Marketing.

[With apologies for the delayed publication]

Nearly hot on the heels of my recent posts on the CDC’s vaccination machinations and the Vioxx debacle, a recent study by the Ramazzini Foundation in Italy was brought to my attention that lays bare some more of the mythology surrounding, in particular, the artificial sweetener Aspartame. Aspartame, patented until recently by Big Ag giant Monsanto, has had a troubled history of occluded information since it’s approval for human food use in the 1980’s. There is an eye-popping rundown by Dr. Betty Martini over at WNHO’s website. For the medically inclined, the Feingold Association has a reference list of articles from Medline dealing with Aspartame issues.

Of course, it’s not merely the deceitful conduct of Monsanto and its conspirators that leads this issue to grace these pages. It’s the inevitable appearance-over-reality Cargo Cult dynamic that is invariably at the heart of such goings on. The dangers of Aspartame have been known all along, and as usual, there are hosts of independent studies that at the least raise serious questions about its effects on humans and other mammals. But these were all ignored and swept aside by our guardians of public trust, who instead elected to use as their operant data results collated by organizations with clear and prevailing conflicts of interest.

The situation has not been helped by the consumer populace, who seem wholly content to accept the bad science and specious research being promulgated by Big Ag and the other vested interests. That our governances should become corrupted by commercial interests is nothing new; that the citizenry of the United States should stand idly by while known toxic substances are introduced into our food supply is a different matter. I’ve never been fooled: Aspartame, along with other artificial sweeteners, gives me migraine headaches. But had I not experienced deleterious effects from ingesting this stuff, I may never have questioned its relative safety as a food additive. In many cases, the substance is forced on me by a lack of decent choices; most of our local Wendy’s restaurants recently switched to Minute-Maid Lite lemonade only; I can’t get a sugared version any more. At one Wendy’s, this had the effect of constraining all my beverage choices, as everything that wasn’t sugar-free had caffeine in it (something else I actively avoid). All of this, however, seems to pass unnoticed by the consumer rank and file.

I think it all comes down to how the issue is being presented, and a point touched on in previous articles, the facade of legitimacy that is actively promoted by our supposed "gatekeeper" organizations such as the FDA. In fact, I would contend that that facade doesn’t stop at legitimacy but, as seen in the CDC vaccinnation coverup, extends all the way to the appearance of infallibility. In our day and age, public trust is no longer about the integrity and character of the organizations entrusted with our health and safety, it’s all about how good their spokespeople and PR flacks sound on radio and television. And if the perils of this dynamic aren’t clear from the vaccine mercury and Aspartame incidents, then they should be abundantly clear in the Hurricane Katrina disaster, where the inept government response stems almost exclusively from gross incompetence and inability on the part of the glad-handed schmoozers who were given a critical responsibility they had not hope of delivering on.

Our task, then, as consumers, is to stop accepting the glib words and bland reassurances of industry councils and other organizations with vested interests in exploitation.  We may lack the power to force ethical compliance on our governances, but we do have the ability to assert at least nominal economic force in the form of our dietary choices.

 As a closing point of thought, consider this lengthy monologue by Lisa Zak, quoted at Topview. While she is obviously speaking from a position of impassioned bias, it would be acting on Cargo Cult beliefs to disregard her remarks solely because she is so highly opinionated. On the contrary, I would contend that we must take all the more seriously the remarks of individuals who have been willing to devote their time, attention, and in many cases professional reputations to exposing scientific fraud and government collusion.

Where the health and safety of our children are concerned, we cannot be too cautious where blind trust in our governances is concerned. The Katrina disaster shows quite clearly the overall competency level of these organizations. Going forward, it is imperative that we find ways to shift the oversight of the Monsanto’s and other predatory corporate forces away from an easily corrupted central government and down to distributed bodies of responsible citizens acting at the state and local level.

Meanwhile, I’ll be sticking to good old cane sugar, thank you very much. :-)


-- Paul
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2 Responses to “Sweetest Poison”

  1. Comment from John

    I think I noted before that whether the stuff is hazardous or not, it tastes terrible. Jane Galt at http://www.janegalt.net is having an unusual experience… she used to like the stuff, and now finds it disgusting. Interesting.

  2. Comment from caROL

    In regard to Wendy’s lemonade w/ aspartame-I am furious at the change to “Light” only and will be calling Wendy’s tomorrow to complain. I had some yesterday not knowing it has aspartame(no one tells you) and came home and had to sleep for several hours Sunday-it shut me down-I can’t eat it-they’re going to end up with a lawsuit if they don’t tell their employees to notify consumers what they are consuming-they shouldn’t assume everyone is ok w/ artificial sweetners



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