Court of Appeal rules in Ajinomoto/Asda aspartame case

Shaun Weston3 Jun 2010 (Updated 18 Mar 2014)

The Court of Appeal in London has handed down a judgement in the case brought by Ajinomoto Sweeteners Europe SAS against Asda Stores Ltd, which will enable Ajinomoto to pursue its case to protect the reputation of aspartame.

The judge who presided at the preliminary hearing, held last year in the High Court, decided that describing aspartame as a 'nasty' would be understood by a substantial number of people to mean that aspartame was potentially harmful or unhealthy.

He did, however, also find a second, less damaging meaning that was not actionable. The judge then entered a series of complex legal arguments through which he concluded that the less damaging meaning was the one that counted.

Today's judgement effectively reverses that position. Asda can no longer deny that describing aspartame as a 'nasty' denigrates a safe and beneficial food ingredient.

Source: Ajinomoto Sweeteners