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The FDA burns books on herbal sweetner.
August 5, 2001 12:32 AM   Subscribe

The FDA burns books on herbal sweetner. Starting with the 19th century's Comstock Act the US has had the power to confiscate and destroy "obscene" materials. The FDA used this power to destroy the works of Wilhelm Reich and now the herbal sweetner Stevia.
posted by skallas (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Whoops should have read "FDA almost burns books on herbal sweetner."
posted by skallas at 12:35 AM on August 5, 2001


Amazing what they think they can get away with. I can only assume Big Sugar or whoever makes NutraSweet, etc., would have any interest in initiating such weirdly repressive and queer proceedings. Then stevia advocates would start wearing T-shirts with the molecular model of it silk-screened on the front. . . What a strange country.
posted by aflakete at 2:38 AM on August 5, 2001


• That setvia.net link ("The FDA burns books on herbal sweetner.") is selling stevia-related products, including an expensive ($12.95) little dropper bottle of liquid stevia sweetener. They are ready to take your credit-card number.

• The FDA says that "The safety of stevia has been questioned by published studies."

• The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says that "laboratory studies of stevia have found potential cancer and reproductive-health problems." They add that Canada and Europe also do not allow its use, and though Japan does permit it as a product sweetener, they note:
“But the Japanese don’t consume large amounts of stevia,” notes Douglas Kinghorn, professor of pharmacognosy (the study of drugs from plants) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“In the U.S., we like to go to extremes,” adds toxicologist Ryan Huxtable of the University of Arizona in Tucson. “So a significant number of people here might consume much greater amounts.”


I'm in no hurry to use it -- I'm not a big sugar consumer -- and I won't be convinced by people profiting by its sale.
posted by pracowity at 5:34 AM on August 5, 2001


some of us know the real reason the FDA is trying to remove all trace of this herb.

it get's you really high when you smoke it.

and if it get's you high, but there's no big industry/lobby to support it and to hand out some cash to the FDA, it needs to considered a danger to society and removed from it immediately.

(p.s. don't smoke more than a lung full. i hear the stuff is like a 'marijuana in crack form')
posted by jcterminal at 9:52 AM on August 5, 2001


Interesting info, pracowity. I've never used the stuff, I'm mostly concerned about why the FDA thought that burning books about the subject was "for the public good" or whatever. And there are lots of substances that the FDA has approved that I would be less likely to use than stevia. Nor are all "scientific studies" unmotivated by special interests. I'd just like to have access to all the information.
posted by aflakete at 2:01 PM on August 5, 2001


Yeah, I couldn't care less how bad it is for you. Stop them from selling it, fine. Burn their books? Not so cool.
posted by whatnotever at 2:31 PM on August 5, 2001


Why does this country even need a comstock act? I can go out and buy the Anarchist's Cookbook, Mein Kamf, etc because of the first amendment but do we really need the FDA to burn books for public safety? This agency should not have powers that trample the first amendment. Especially the way they went after Reich. He may have gone a little wacko in his later years with his sexual liberation and orgone but that's no reason to start a witchhunt.

As far as scientific studies by special interests, that's Stevia's biggest complaint. They say Nutrasweet is bad for you and Monsanto has the FDA in their pocket. The FDA says Stevia is bad for you - yet, Stevia is only illegal when used as a sweetner. Funny how that works.
posted by skallas at 4:42 PM on August 5, 2001


Homer: "Hmmmmm...anarchist cookbook"
posted by clavdivs at 7:15 PM on August 5, 2001


They say Nutrasweet is bad for you and Monsanto has the FDA in their pocket. The FDA says Stevia is bad for you - yet, Stevia is only illegal when used as a sweetner. Funny how that works.

From what I understand, NutraSweet only caused cancer in some lab rats and has yet to show ill effects on any humans despite years of massive consumption. Cancer in rats and cancer in humans are two different things. Thus, NutraSweet is legal because it’s not harmful.
In this instance I can't tolerate the FDA's tactics, but skallas you have to provide a little proof or evidence to back up your claims; otherwise you’re just seeing conspiracies in your cereal bowl.
posted by Bag Man at 9:37 PM on August 5, 2001


Try a google search for aspartame (the chemical name for Nutrasweet) and you'll notice there aren't many people with anything nice to say about it.

Infact, aspartame has been found to result in its most regular users becoming lethargic, snappy, and having mood swings.

There is no 100% scientific evidence that this stuff is harmful for you, but I also read somewhere that there's no '100%' scientific evidence that smoking causes lung cancer. We use anecdotal evidence all of the time. If, for example, 1% of those who have consumed aspartame get a tumor compared to 0.1% who don't consume it, that's good enough for me.
posted by wackybrit at 9:59 PM on August 5, 2001


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