Bitter Defeat

Bill to ban aspartame deferred by Senate Health Committee.

By Léo Azambuja

A bill seeking to ban aspartame in Hawaii has been deferred last Monday by the Senate Health Committee. It means that the bill will not make it to a floor vote, and plans to ban aspartame are dead on water.

A staff worker at the office of Senator David Ige, chair of the Health Committee, said the committee decided to defer SB 2506 indefinitely because the “FDA has the responsibility to determine the safety of food and food additives,” and since foods that contain aspartame are labeled, people have a choice to avoid them.

In other words, Sen. Ige passed the responsibility to the FDA, washing his hands of the issue.

This was a hard blow for those who are trying to rid the state from a food additive that has been labeled by many scientists as a neurotoxin. Aspartame is in 6,000 products, and is consumed by 200 million people daily.

In England, Walmart, along with at least 14 large supermarket chains, banned aspartame in their stores. The European Union Parliament voted to ban artificial sweeteners in baby foods. Latvia banned it in the schools, and Romania banned it in the whole country.

In the U.S., aspartame consumption is slowly losing ground. Connecticut removed aspartame products from its schools, and Chicago took it out of its grammar and middle schools. Molokai removed all diet and soft drinks from school soda machines, replacing them with water and juice.

For more questions please call Sen. Ige at (808) 586-6230, or email him at The Vice-Chair of the Health Committee is Sen. Carol Fukunaga. She can be reached at (808) 586-6890, or at


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.