Although Rep. Josh Green (D-North Kona) sympathized with supporters who have been affected by the artificial sweetener aspartame, he was unable to immediately pass a bill that would ban the artificial sweetener aspartame in food products without concrete evidence showing a connection between aspartame and medical ailments. We can't take numerous amounts of products off Hawaii store shelves without evidence of a connection, he said. Banning aspartame would be a major policy change, affecting many corporations and the market. Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) said that putting a total ban on aspartame in July 2008 would be difficult and nearly impossible. Huge bans like this would need a phasing out process, he said. Decision making was deferred until Feb. 13, 2008. Rep. Green said that he is open to supporters providing more detailed and solid information about the connection between aspartame and health problems before decision making.
The Honolulu Advertiser covered the hearing.