The FDA says apartame is safe, but Diet Pepsi is apparently tired of fighting the public perception that it's not. PepsiCo is dropping the artificial sweetener in Diet Pepsi and replacing it with another artificial sweetener—a blend of sucralose and ace-K, or acesulfame potassium, reports USA Today. The first aspartame-free shipments should arrive in stores in August. The move comes amid declining sales and rising consumer worry about the possible health effects of aspartame. “It’s been going on for some time, and the volume of it over the past two years has really been high,” Pepsi exec Seth Kaufman tells Bloomberg.
So will Diet Coke follow? "There are currently no plans to change the sweetener," says a Coke statement. And company chief Muhtar Kent said on CNBC that while he's "not here to defend aspartame," it is one of the most "researched ingredients in the world and safe," reports the Wall Street Journal. Sales of Diet Pepsi were down 5.2% last year, and Diet Coke's were down 6.6%. The Journal notes that the Internet seems to be driving fears that aspartame is the villain in host of issues, from cancer to weight gain. The feds, however, maintain that it's safe in the amounts consumed by Americans. (Read more aspartame stories.)