Company Name: Jiangxi Naujame Industrial Co.,Ltd
Address: Chating Industrial Park,Shangrao County,Shangrao,Jiangxi,China
Contact: Genie Yao
? Production is winding down at the NutraSweet plant in Augusta, with more than 85 percent of its workforce expected to be gone by mid-March.
? In September, the company announced it would cease manufacturing the artificial sweetener aspartame and amino acid L-phenylalanine and would concentrate on more profitable sweetener lines.
? About 110 workers have since lost their jobs. The remaining 70 employees are working on the amino acid unit, which should continue for about a month, said NutraSweet CEO Bill DeFer.
? “We’ve satisfied all of our contracts and actually got a little new business with the amino acid (unit), but even that’s going to come to an end,” he said.
The plant on Lovers Lane will retain about 30 workers to continue production, sales and distribution activities for neotame and Twinsweet, but DeFer said that long-term plans for those operations have not been finalized.
? “For now, that’s still the plan,” he said.
? Laid-off workers were offered severance packages and outplacement assistance. DeFer said that some affected employees have found jobs at surrounding industrial facilities.
? The aspartame plant had been in Augusta for more than 30 years. Boston-based private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates has owned NutraSweet since 2000.
Foreign competition and low-cost imports caused NutraSweet to shut down aspartame operations. Food and beverage makers also are shifting to lower-calorie sweeteners, like neotame and Twinsweet, to meet changing consumer tastes, DeFer said.
? Aspartame is about 200 times sweeter than table sugar and is used in diet sodas, gum, yogurt and other sugar-free or low-calorie foods. Neotame is between 7,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar and can be used in the same food and drinks as aspartame. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, neotame stays sweet even when used at high temperatures and is considered a suitable sugar substitute in baked goods.
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