Ajinomoto Sweeteners took action in 2007 over publicity for the ‘Good for you’ range, which promised ‘No hidden nasties – no artificial colours or flavours, no aspartame and no hydrogenated fats’.
Ajinomoto accused Asda of malicious falsehood. However, Justice Tugendhat ruled that the words didn’t mean aspartame could be harmful or unhealthy.
“No reasonable reader could understand the words as a statement by Asda that all artificial colours and flavours are especially or actually harmful or unhealthy,” he said.
The judge also developed his own meaning of the terms, which he arrived at through a series of complex arguments. The judge then created a new rule which required that his second meaning was to be preferred. This means that Ajinomoto will need to lodge an appeal to pursue its case, which, according to a spokesperson for the company, will occur.
The company believes it is important to defend the reputation of aspartame and of the many products that use the ingredient, and that the denigration of aspartame isn’t in the interest of consumers’ health or good nutrition, and remains steadfast in its defence of this safe and beneficial ingredient.
Source: Teletext, The Independent
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