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I attended a Food Standards Agency Scotland (SFSA) meeting in Dundee in September 2009 and found the committee almost totally ignorant of aspartame and certainly no one knew of the dangers from the methanol. None of the minutes of Food Standards Agency Committee meetings since SFSA was first formed in April 2000 carried any mention of aspartame at all, yet 2 members of the SFSA sit on the UK FSA committee and there has been at least 4 reviews of the safety of aspartame by it and the SFSA in that period.

As a devolved matter, I believe the Scottish people should have been warned that the safety of a food product was under review and our medical profession advised that we are all consuming methanol on a daily basis. We need to know Scotland’s official position on aspartame or have we abdicated total responsibility for it to London?

We have been in constant communications with both the FSA and EFSA since early 2009 including a meeting in October 2009 at their London offices. Present were six delegates from the UK Aspartame Awareness Campaign (UKAAC) and seven senior scientists from the FSA including two toxicologists and a SFSA representative, Stewart Herd. We presented them with new evidence regarding the metabolism of the free methanol from aspartame and challenged the current ADI (Approved Daily Intake) of aspartame of 40mg/kg as being 35 times too high for safety. At the meeting we requested the ban on methanol and of informing the medical profession about the methanol consumption, both of which they totally ignored.

At a UK level, I have written to—

  • Two chief executives of FSA, Lord Rooker who referred me straight back to FSA and Tim Smith with whom I am in correspondence now
  • The UK Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, two letters without the courtesy of a reply
  • The then Labour UK Government health minister and health secretary and the current health minister, Andrew Lansley MP – all of whom referred me straight back to the FSA.

There is a glass ceiling over the FSA and they are untouchable because they are scientists, they investigate themselves and consider only scientific opinions – this is very unhealthy when considering the health of the nation.

It is almost impossible to get to the UK Government so I approached the SFSA and found it was totally ignorant of the presence of aspartame/methanol in our diet. I was very disappointed with a letter I received back after posing questions to it on the metabolism of methanol.

I have not contacted the Scottish Government at all but have been advised by my MSP Mr Alex Fergusson that a petition would be the correct way forward.

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