NutraSweet Co., the St. Louis-based subsidiary of the Monsanto Co.,says it is the victim of a growing counterfeiting trend in SouthFlorida.

The company claims several South Florida businesses have beencounterfeiting its popular sweetener, Equal. The charge is made in asuit filed in federal court in Miami against eight companies and theirprincipals. NutraSweet says they violated Equal’s trademark and isseeking more than $16 million in compensation and fines.