What would readers think about aspartame, the artificial sweetener that’s an ingredient in thousands of products, if you were privy to information regarding its harmful health effects, plus lawsuits, that have been settled out of court with documents sealed under gag order? Could that be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg?
To understand the sordid realities surrounding the release of aspartame into U.S. food and pharmaceutical use, one has to appreciate that controversy surrounded aspartame almost from its very beginning when the U.S. FDA’s own scientists would not recommend it.
Probably nothing encapsulates the aspartame ‘pedigree’ more than the article “The Aspartame / NutraSweet Fiasco” written by Attorney James S. Turner, with whom I’ve been in contact since the 1980s. Jim’s work has been at the forefront of preserving healthcare and consumer rights and safety issues since his days as of one Ralph “Naider’s Raiders” . Thank you, Jim, for all your good work over the decades—and you still keep going.
The FDA then stayed aspartame’s approval. It also contracted, over serious internal objection, with a group of university pathologists (paid by Searle) to review most of the studies, set up a task force to review three studies and asked the U.S. Attorney for Chicago to seek a grand jury review of the monkey seizure study. 
Apparently, eighty-four (84) percent of the monkeys in the studies had grand mal seizures or died!
So, how did aspartame get into food and pharmaceuticals? I’ll let Jim tell you:
In November 1980, however, the country elected Ronald Reagan President. Donald Rumsfeld (former congressman from Skokie, former White House chief of staff, former secretary of defense and since January 1977 president of Searle) joined the Reagan transition team. A full court press against the board decision began.Since Jim Turner wrote that article a while ago, an update to Robert Shapiro’s CV as found at Wikipedia states,
In January 1981 Rumsfeld told a sales meeting, according to one attendee, that he would call in his chips and get aspartame approved by the end of the year. On January 25th, the day the new president took office, the previous FDA commissioner’s authority was suspended, and the next month, the commissioner’s job went to Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes.
Transition records do not show why the administration chose Hayes, a professor and Defense Department contract researcher. In July Hayes, defying FDA advisors, approved aspartame for dry foods — his first major decision. In November 1983 the FDA approved aspartame for soft drinks — Hayes’ last decision.
In November 1983 Hayes, under fire for accepting corporate gifts, left the agency and went to Searle’s public-relations firm as senior medical advisor. Later Searle lawyer Robert Shapiro named aspartame NutraSweet. Monsanto purchased Searle. Rumsfeld received a $12 million bonus. Shapiro is now Monsanto president.  [CJF emphasis added]
…President in 1993 and CEO in 1995. He remained CEO of Monsanto until 2000.  [CJF emphasis added]As long as this writer can remember, Jim Turner has doggedly pursued legal tactics surrounding aspartame in view of disturbing neurological complaints, e.g.,
Shortly after the FDA soft-drink approval, Searle began test marketing, and complaints began to arrive at the FDA — of such reactions as dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, and seizures. The complaints were more serious than the agency had ever received on any food additive. At the same time, scientists began looking more closely at this manufactured chemical sweetener.  [CJF emphasis added]Note that back when Jim wrote that article, there had been over 10,000 complaints filed with the FDA regarding aspartame. However, according to Attorney Turner,
Searle paid for 100% of those [studies] finding no problem. All studies paid for by non- industry sources raised questions.  [CJF emphasis added. Isn’t that interesting?]There’s been ongoing ‘debates’ about aspartame and none is more exemplary than what is found in the article “Artificial sweeteners tied to obesity, Type 2 diabetes.”
Probably, nothing is more disconcerting than the story about Shannon Roth who suffered a blinding reaction to aspartame.
According to “In The Blink Of An Eye – How Aspartame Can Harm Your Vision” by Janet Hull, PhD, CN,
She [Shannon Roth] underwent numerous X-rays, a spinal tap, and a CAT scan. The diagnosis: retrobulbar optic neuritis - blindness in just one eye.Furthermore, Dr. Morgan Raiford, MD, of the Atlanta Eye Clinic
The cause? Aspartame. 
…observed clinical evidence in Shannon’s eye comparable to effects he studied in patients who suffered methyl alcohol (methanol) toxicity. But, Shannon did not drink alcohol; just drinks with Equal and diet colas.  [CJF emphasis added]It seems Shannon’s eye retina and optic nerve fibers were highly reactive to the methyl alcohol that’s in aspartame—something everyone should consider a possibility since no one knows how one’s body reacts to toxins ‘legalized’ due to high-pressure lobbying and the apparent ‘politics’ that go on at CDC/FDA regarding chemicals permitted in food, water, and pharmaceuticals, including vaccines.
The artificial sweetener aspartame is E951 [the EU food additive name/number] marketed under various product names: NutraSweet, Equal, NatraTaste Blue , and as Canderel in Europe. One of the most unfortunate metabolites of aspartame is formaldehyde, a carcinogen according to the U.S. EPA. 
These are indeed extremely high levels for adducts of formaldehyde, a substance responsible for chronic deleterious effects that has also been considered carcinogenic.Adducts are either breaks in DNA or when a piece of DNA covalently bonds to a cancer-causing chemical, which become the beginning stages of cancers.
It is concluded that aspartame consumption may constitute a hazard because of its contribution to the formation of formaldehyde adducts. 
Chemically, aspartame is made from two amino acids, i.e., aspartic acid (approximately 40%) and phenylalanine (approximately 50%), plus combined with approximately 10% methyl ester.
Here’s a listing of some products containing aspartame.
Just like GMOs, consumers should be equally, if not more, concerned about the artificial sweetener aspartame since long-standing independent studies indicate neurological effects , plus it has a track record of causing blindness. Furthermore, aspartame apparently can interact negatively with pharmaceuticals, including vaccines.  Now, how sweet is that?
 Trocho, C., et al., 1998. "Formaldehyde Derived From Dietary Aspartame Binds to Tissue Components in vivo," Life Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337+, 1998
Aspartame Detoxification Program
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.
Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.
Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).