Appeal verdict in Asda 'nasty' case expected in early June

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Law, Human rights

The legal battle between Asda and Ajinomoto over the rights to describe aspartame as 'nasty' has moved into a new phase.

Ajinomoto - a leading supplier of the intense sweetener - took legal action against Asda in 2008 after the retailer refused its requests to stop describing aspartame as 'nasty'.

However, while High Court judge Mr Justice Tugendhat (in July 2009) agreed that aspartame was not unsafe, he concluded that calling it ‘nasty’ did not amount to malicious falsehood.

Asda hailed his decision as a “victory for common sense”,​ but Ajinomoto immediately lodged an appeal against his ruling, arguing that it was “common sense that stating that aspartame is a nasty and that products which do not contain it are ‘good for you’ mean aspartame is potentially bad for you”.

A hearing to consider Ajinomoto's appeal took place in London yesterday (May 11) with a judgement expected in early June, said a spokeswoman. "We expect a judgement in about three weeks."

Although aspartame has been given a clean bill of health by the European Food Safety Authority, several retailers and manufacturers have banned it from product ranges as part of ‘no nasties’/clean-labelling initiatives.

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