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IPFS News Link • Health and Physical Fitness

CHD Remembers James Turner, Food Safety Advocate Who Fought to Ban...

• By Children's Health Defense Team

The Children's Health Defense team was deeply saddened to learn of the death of attorney James Turner on Jan. 25.

Turner, 81, was a consumer crusader and champion in the fight against chemical sweeteners who began his public advocacy career as one of Ralph Nader's Raiders.

In 1970, Turner wrote "The Chemical Feast, a best-seller that exposed the food industry's failure to protect the food supply. His fight to remove cyclamate from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe list led to the book being removed from the market, but it was republished in 1976 by Penguin Books.

A graduate of The Ohio State University (OSU) on a U.S. Navy scholarship, Turner served in the OSU student senate for three years. He received his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law (now Moritz College of Law) where he served as Chief Justice of the Moot Court.

Between undergraduate and law school, Turner was a lieutenant on active duty in the U.S. Navy. He graduated with distinction from the Naval Justice School and served as a nuclear weapons handling officer and gunnery officer aboard the U.S.S. Purdy and the U.S.S. Austin.

Turner played a major role in the fight against the artificial sweetener aspartame. He also worked with Dr. John Olney in the late 1960s during the Senate hearings about monosodium glutamate (MSG) in baby foods.

Turner was concerned about Olney's research proving aspartame caused brain lesions in baby rats and he fought to make sure it would not get approved as an artificial sweetener. He discovered that the aspartic acid in aspartame had similar properties to glutamate — an ingredient in MSG.