Splenda: Sadistically Sweet

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Splenda: Sadistically Sweet. For more general information on Huntingdon Life Sciences, see also main SourceWatch article Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Splenda: Sadistically Sweet

Laboratory beagle

Splenda is the brand name for Sucralose, an artificial sweetener manufactured by by McNeil Laboratories, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. In 2000, a series of reports were published by Permagon press on the details of animal testing for Sucralose at Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). These were particularly nasty experiments carried out on dogs, monkeys, rabbits, rats and mice. A total of 12,800 animals died at HLS for this study. One of the objectives was to observe effects of massive doses of sucralose on animal's nervous systems. In spite of wide spread evidence of health dangers and concerns, Sucralose is widely available for consumption. See also pdf copies of animal testing reports for various species conducted at HLS laboratories. [1]

Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is the first no-calorie based sweetener ever developed. It was predicted to be a highly profitable money maker for British sugar giant Tate & Lyle, who commissioned the research. Thousands of animals, including beagles, monkeys, rabbits and rodents were poisoned and killed in various ways for the 20 year study on Sucralose; known in the United States as Splenda. In the most shocking tests, 32 beagles were locked in metal cages for 52 weeks at the McNeil Speciality Products laboratories in New Jersey. They were given Sucralose mixed in with their normal feed while blood and urine samples were collected. At the end of the study, they were anaesthetised and bled to death by having their throats slit open. The dogs were then dissected to examine their organs for toxicity levels, more easily done as they were drained of blood. According to a report published in Food and Chemical Toxicology:

"Dogs were killed after 52 weeks of treatment by exsanguination (draining of blood) while under anaesthesia and examined."

Thousands of monkeys, dogs, rabbits, mice and rats were killed during tests in the United Kingdom. In one one experiment conducted at Huntingdon Life Sciences in Cambridgeshire, four beagle puppies were starved prior to being force fed Sucralose through tubes. Researchers took blood samples from their jugular veins and examined their urine and feces to look for and study for effects of Sucralose on their metabolisms. An unspecified number of marmoset monkeys died or were killed after being force fed Sucralose at a laboratory in Eye, Suffolk, which is now part of HLS. In one experiment, twelve male monkeys under the age of 10 months were force-fed Sucralose for seven weeks. After seven days, two monkeys died from brain damage and a third was killed after four weeks. The rest of the brain-damaged animals were euthanized.

In another experiment conducted at Eye, rabbits were given doses of Sucralose 1,200 times the expected human daily intake. Many died of trauma and others suffered from extreme weight loss, convulsions and intestinal disorders. HLS also conducted tests on pregnant rabbits as well as thousands of rats and mice. Similar experiments were also conducted at Inveresk laboratories, near Ediburgh, (now merged with Charles River) and Covance Laboratories at Harrogate, Yorkshire. The British Union For The Abolition Of Vivisection (BUAV) has estimated that tens of thousands of animals have died in the testing of this product. According to BUAV's director of research, Sarah Kite:

"They are particularly nasty. Animals have been made to suffer and die simply to put out another sweetener which we don't need. These appalling tests, which usually involve slitting the animals' throats, are legal, but we feel they should not be allowed in this country."

Sucralose is sold in 40 countries, including Australia, Canada and the U.S., where it is marketed under a license by Johnson & Johnson. It is sold in both a tablet and powder form. According to Tate & Lyle's divisional managing director Austin Maguire:

"We have done the minimum number of tests required. Sucralose is unique. Consumers welcome that additional choice."

A spokesman for HLS commented:

"We would only do these tests if there was no alternative. Most were done at Huntingdon some years ago and are not happening now."

According to a spokesperson from the HLS home office:

"Anyone who wants to do safety testing has to show a clear necessity for using animals to gain a licence." [2]

Product safety issues & controversies

Splenda is derived from a chlorocarbon chemical which contains three atoms of chlorine per molecule (named sucralose by its manufacturer) and which is 600 times sweeter than a natural molecule of sugar. The use of "ose" implies that this substance is "natural" (as in sucrose), the name for table sugar. J&J has patented several chemical processes for manufacturing sucralose. The patent literature illustrates that sucralose can be chemically manufactured without natural sugar, with an end product of an entirely new chlorocarbon chemical (sucralose).

There has not been a single long term human study to determine on potential health risks of Splenda. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relied on a handful of short term human studies to approve Splenda as safe for human consumption. Further, these studies were all conducted by the manufacturer of Splenda, hardly an unbiased source.

Splenda is found in nearly 3,500 food products. However, not all of these products list Splenda as an ingredient and not one of them reveal the fact that the product contains chlorine. Further, none of the regulatory agencies nor scientific review bodies responsible for confirming the safety of sucralose, require that warnings be included in labeling. [3] In spite of wide spread evidence and documentation of health dangers and concerns, Sucralose remains widely available for consumption.[4], [5]

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles


  1. What Do They Test? Splenda: Coffee Sweetner, SHAC.net, accessed December 2009
  2. Mike Hamilton Sweetener Slaughter: 12,800 animals die for no-calorie pills, Daily Mirror, August 2001
  3. Truth About Splenda®.com: Fact vs. Fiction, Janethull.com, accessed July 2011
  4. Facts about Splenda, Truthaboutsplenda.com, accessed July 2011
  5. Sucralose Toxicity Information Center, Holistic Healing, accessed July 2011

External resources