Food and Drug Administration:

Six Former HHS Employees' Involvement in Aspartame's Approval

HRD-86-109BR: Published: Jul 22, 1986. Publicly Released: Aug 21, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) process for approving the artificial sweetener aspartame. GAO obtained information on six former Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) employees, specifically: (1) their contacts with the product's manufacturer while employed by HHS and with FDA after they left their government positions; and (2) their involvement in the FDA aspartame approval process.

GAO found that: (1) all but one of the employees were involved in the approval of aspartame and four had contacts with the product's manufacturer before they left HHS; (2) all six employees had contacts with FDA after they left it; and (3) aspartame matters discussed between the former HHS employees and FDA were permissible. GAO believes that the four HHS employees who had contact with the product's manufacturer did so as part of their government duties.

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