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Sugar goes after Splenda

Janet Babin Nov 3, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Sugar farmers have a big problem with those little packets of Splenda. The industry has filed a lawsuit over what Splenda says about its product. Today, farmers from the U.S., New Zealand and Australia will step up their pressure on the Federal Trade Commission. Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.


JANET BABIN: The sugar industry says that the makers of Splenda are misleading consumers with false ads that claim it’s a natural product.

McNeil Nutritionals, a unit of Johnson and Johnson, makes the popular sugar substitute. Its ads say Splenda is “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”

The sugar industry has filed a complaint with the FTC, asking the agency to intervene. Splenda’s makers call the complaint a baseless attack.

Art Amolsch runs the newsletter FTC Watch. He says it’s likely not much will come of this public complaint.

ART AMOLSCH:“I can’t remember in my 33 years associated with the Federal Trade Commission, a time when somebody filed a public complaint like this and it produced any kind of law enforcement action”

But both sides also have cases pending in federal court. Additionally, sugar industry officials in New Zealand and Australia have each registered complaints about Splenda.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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