Magazine article European Social Policy

Food Safety/aspartame : Efsa Verdict on Safety of Aspartame Due on 15 May

Magazine article European Social Policy

Food Safety/aspartame : Efsa Verdict on Safety of Aspartame Due on 15 May

Article excerpt

Should the acceptable daily intake (ADI) for aspartame, 40 mg per kg of body weight, be changed? Or to put it another way, is it dangerous to a person's health to drink 12 cans of an aspartame-sweetened soda every day for a lifetime? This is what the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be deciding in the coming weeks. In their preliminary opinion, the authority's scientific experts in charge of this re-evaluation clearly state that the current ADI is "safe" for the general population. Other stakeholders, like Reseau Envrionnement Sante, say this limit is far too high and are campaigning for it to be reduced by a factor of 2,000. They also denounce a lack of nuance, independence and honesty on the part of the EFSA.

In any case, since the European Commission is not required to follow the EFSA's opinion, it may decide to introduce a ban even if the EFSA confirms the draft opinion of its scientific experts.

STATE OF PLAY

Aspartame (E 951) is a low-calorie, intense sweetener that has been authorised for nearly 30 years in Europe as an additive to sweeten a variety of foods like sodas and chewing gum. Like all food additives authorised in the EU before 20 January 2009, normally it would have been put through a complete re-evaluation by the end of 2020. But several studies denouncing a link between aspartame and an increase in cancers and pre-term deliveries sowed the seeds of doubt as to its safety. Pressured by the European Parliament, the European Commission asked the EFSA to speed up its work and to publish a final opinion in May 2013.

In this context, the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS panel) published a draft opinion, on 8 January, based on data and studies covering the years 1960 to 2013. The opinion, submitted for consultation, initially concludes that aspartame and its breakdown products pose no toxicity concerns for consumers at current levels of exposure and that the current ADI of 40 mg per kg of body weight does not need to be changed. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.