Merisant Co, which makes artificial sweetener Equal, has reportedly sued the marketer of rival product Splenda over its slogan, which claims Splenda is made from sugar.

In a complaint filed in a Philadelphia court, Merisant claims Splenda is actually made from "dextrose, maltodextrin and 4-chloro-4-deoxy-alpha, D-Galactopyranosyl-1,6-dichloro-1,6-dideoxy-beta, D-fructofuranoside", reported The Associated Press. Merisant says the marketing slogan is misleading to consumers as it implies Splenda, the brand name for sucralose, is natural.

McNeil Nutritionals, which markets Splenda in the US, said sucralose starts out as pure cane sugar before being chemically altered to make a new compound with fewer calories.

"We have never claimed that it is natural, nor would we. It is a sugar substitute," company spokeswoman Monica Neufang was quoted by AP as saying. "Consumers are not misled."