Consumer Group USRTK Asks FTC to Investigate Advertising of Artificial Sweetener Sucralose

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News Release

For immediate release: Monday, November 19, 2018
For more information contact: Gary Ruskin (415) 944-7350

The consumer group U.S. Right to Know sent a letter today to Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking it investigate whether companies that manufacture or sell the artificial sweetener sucralose, such as Tate & Lyle PLC and Coca-Cola Co., are advertising and marketing it deceptively, by claiming that it neither metabolizes nor bioaccumulates.

Sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda, is an organochlorine artificial sweetener used in thousands of food products. Emerging evidence, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, suggests that sucralose metabolizes and bioaccumulates in rats, contradicting some advertising and marketing materials about sucralose.

“Are food companies deceiving consumers by telling them that sucralose doesn’t metabolize or bioaccumulate?” asked Gary Ruskin, co-director of the consumer and public health group U.S. Right to Know.  “That’s what we’re asking the Federal Trade Commission to figure out.”

Tate & Lyle’s website sucralose.com states that “SPLENDA® Sucralose is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate and is not metabolized by the body.”  Coca-Cola’s website claims that “The small amount of sucralose that is absorbed is not metabolized, but is rapidly eliminated in urine as sucralose. Sucralose does not accumulate in the body.”  These statements and others appear to be contradicted by the study in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.

In 2015, U.S. Right to Know petitioned the FTC and FDA to stop Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. from using the term “diet” in advertising, branding and labeling of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, because it appears to be deceptive, false and misleading. Numerous scientific studies and literature reviews suggest that artificial sweeteners do not assist in weight loss and may cause weight gain.  Neither the FTC nor FDA acted on these requests.

U.S. Right to Know is a nonprofit consumer and public health group that investigates the risks associated with the corporate food system, and the food industry’s practices and influence on public policy.  For more information, see usrtk.org.

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