NutraSweet

NutraSweet

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The NutraSweet Company makes and sells NutraSweet, their trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

ed brand name for the artificial sweetener aspartame
Aspartame
Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide. It was first sold under the brand name NutraSweet; since 2009 it...

, and Neotame
Neotame
Neotame is an artificial sweetener made by NutraSweet that is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sucrose . In the European Union, it is known by the E number E961...

.
Aspartame was accidentally discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist with a master's degree working under Dr. Kurt Rorig, PhD, in charge of new drug research for G.D. Searle & Company. Dr. Kurt Rorig assigned Mr. Schlatter to put together a polypeptide to be used for a new medication for hypertension. Mr. Schlatter had just put the first two amino acids together and accidentally touched his contaminated finger to his mouth when, much to his surprise, he tasted a sweetness orders of magnitude greater than sugar. Regulatory approval by the FDA became the next hurdle. Searle hired Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

, congressional representative to Searle's district, to become the company president. The goal was to sell the whole company now that it had discoved NutraSweet. Despite Donald Rumfsfeld's best efforts he was unable to do so on his own. Having met Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan
Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

, while in Washington, Rumsfeld hired on Greenspan to broker some kind of deal. Dr. Rorig was dispatched to testify before the FDA. Greenspan sold aspartame to Monsanto
Monsanto
The Monsanto Company is a US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed in the "Roundup" brand of herbicides, and in other brands...

 in a year, and moved on. Aspartame finally gained regulatory approvals, after applying for fifteen years, permitting its sale in more than 100 countries. The aspartame patent, issued to Schlatter, under contract to turn over all patent rights to the company, good for 17 years, was impeded by the FDA. Monsanto was then able to buy aspartame off-patent. Eventually Pfizer
Pfizer
Pfizer, Inc. is an American multinational pharmaceutical corporation. The company is based in New York City, New York with its research headquarters in Groton, Connecticut, United States...

 bought Searle. Reference: Kurt J Rorig, PhD. See also "Alan Greenspan Age of Turbulence"

Despite losing market share in recent years to sucralose
Sucralose
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. The majority of ingested sucralose is not broken down by the body and therefore it is non-caloric. In the European Union, it is also known under the E number E955. Sucralose is approximately 600 times as sweet as sucrose , twice as sweet as saccharin, and 3.3...

, the NutraSweet Company states that its product is used in more than 5,000 products and consumed by some 250 million people worldwide.

Robert B. Shapiro
Robert B. Shapiro
Robert B. Shapiro is a businessman and attorney who has worked extensively with the biochemical corporations G.D. Searle and Monsanto Company. Before working in this sector he was Vice-President and legal counsel at General Instrument from 1972 to 1979...

 was Chairman and CEO of the NutraSweet Company from 1982 to 1990. Monsanto
Monsanto
The Monsanto Company is a US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed in the "Roundup" brand of herbicides, and in other brands...

 bought Searle in 1985. In March 2000, Monsanto
Monsanto
The Monsanto Company is a US-based multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world's leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed in the "Roundup" brand of herbicides, and in other brands...

, which was then a subsidiary of the Pharmacia
Pharmacia
Pharmacia was a pharmaceutical and biotechnological company in Sweden.-History:Pharmacia was founded in 1911 in Stockholm, Sweden by pharmacist Gustav Felix Grönfeldt at the Elgen Pharmacy. The company is named after the Greek word φαρμακεία, transliterated pharmakeia, which means 'sorcery'...

 corporation, sold NutraSweet to the private equity
Private equity
Private equity, in finance, is an asset class consisting of equity securities in operating companies that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange....

 firm J.W. Childs.

See also

  • Aspartame
    Aspartame
    Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. In the European Union, it is codified as E951. Aspartame is a methyl ester of the aspartic acid/phenylalanine dipeptide. It was first sold under the brand name NutraSweet; since 2009 it...

  • Aspartame controversy
    Aspartame controversy
    The artificial sweetener aspartame has been the subject of several controversies since its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1974...

  • Excitotoxicity
    Excitotoxicity
    Excitotoxicity is the pathological process by which nerve cells are damaged and killed by excessive stimulation by neurotransmitters such as glutamate and similar substances. This occurs when receptors for the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate such as the NMDA receptor and AMPA receptor are...

  • Merisant
    Merisant
    Merisant Company is a United States manufacturer of artificial sweeteners, including Equal and Canderel.The company was formed from Monsanto Company's tabletop sweetener business, which was acquired by a group of investors in 2000....

    , a different company that also makes sugar substitutes (including Equal
    Equal (sweetener)
    Equal is a brand of artificial sweetener containing aspartame, dextrose and maltodextrin. It is marketed as a tabletop sweetener by Merisant, a global corporation which also owns the well-known NutraSweet brand and which has headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, Switzerland, Mexico, and Australia...

    , another aspartame-based product)
  • Sugar substitute
    Sugar substitute
    A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners....

  • Sweet'n Low
    Sweet'N Low
    Sweet'n Low is a brand of artificial sweetener from granulated saccharin, dextrose and cream of tartar. It was invented and first introduced in 1957 by Benjamin Eisenstadt and his son, Marvin Eisenstadt...


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