dryriver writes: In 1999, The Independent published an article entitled "World's top sweetener is made with GM bacteria," which revealed that Monsanto was knowingly adding Aspartame to soft drinks in the United States — and that Aspartame is made from GM — "Genetically Modified" — bacteria. The report created very little public reaction or attention at the time, and was quickly forgotten. Fortunately, a 1981 patent for Aspartame production, once confined to the drawers of patent offices, is now available online for everyone to see — and it confirms everything that Monsanto was happy to tell us in 1999 before their meteoric growth necessitated greater prudence. NaturalNews summarizes Aspartame production as follows: 1.) 'Cloned microorganisms' (which the patent later reveals to be genetically modified E. coli) are cultivated in tanks whose environments are tailored to help them thrive. 2.) The well-fed E. coli cultures defecate the proteins that contain the aspartic acid-phenylalanine amino acid segment needed to make aspartame. 3.) The proteins containing the Asp-Phe segments are 'harvested' (i.e. lab assistants collect the bacteria's feces). 4.) The feces are then treated. This includes a process of methylation (adding an excess of the toxic alcohol, methanol, to the protected dipeptide). While common sense dictates that this abomination doesn't belong anywhere near our bodies, the patent's authors made no secret about their belief that aspartame constitutes a safe and nutritious sweetener: "Aspartame is not only sweeter than sucrose, but is preferable as a food to sucrose. While sucrose can provide the body with little more than energy, aspartame is composed of amino acids, the building blocks of body proteins, and like other proteins is broken down by the digestive enzymes in the stomach to its constituent amino acids thus providing nutritive value. [...] For these reasons, aspartame holds significant promise in replacing sugar as a sweetener."