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FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2007
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Sugar trade group wants a look inside state Splenda plant

MOBILE (AP) — A federal magistrate judge could decide next month whether to allow lawyers for a sugar trade group a look inside the Splenda plant near Mobile.

The Sugar Association alleges unfair advertising practices by the marketers of Splenda, the artificial sweetener.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Cassady on Tuesday set an Aug. 2 hearing on the association's bid to inspect the Splenda plant in McIntosh.

The sugar group has sued McNeil-PPC and McNeil Nutritionals LLC. The lawsuit, scheduled for trial in January in a California federal court, accuses McNeil of misleading advertising.

The association takes issue with the advertising slogan used by McNeil, "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar."

The defendants have filed a countersuit claiming The Sugar Association has engaged in unfair competition and product disparagement by launching a public education campaign that McNeil alleges is a "smear campaign" against Splenda.

London-based Tate & Lyle, which owns the McIntosh chemical plant that makes the Sucralose used in Splenda, has refused requests to allow The Sugar Association to examine and videotape the manufacturing process.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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