EFSA Draft Opinion on Aspartame Reconfirms Safety

ATLANTA (January 8, 2013) — The Calorie Control Council is pleased that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) today released a draft opinion report that reaffirms what scientists and healthcare professionals have known for years: aspartame is safe.

In January 2013, following a comprehensive review of studies on aspartame and its metabolites, EFSA concluded that there is no reason to reconsider the previous safety evaluations of aspartame authorized in the European Union.  In their report, EFSA stated that “EFSA’s scientific experts have drawn upon all available information on aspartame and its breakdown products and, following a detailed and methodical analysis, have concluded in this draft opinion that they pose no toxicity concern for consumers at current levels of exposure. The current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is considered to be safe for the general population and consumer exposure to aspartame is below this ADI.”

Aspartame, a popular low-calorie sweetener, is one of the most thoroughly studied food ingredients in the food supply.  In fact, aspartame has been tested for over three decades in over 200 studies, with the same result: aspartame is safe.  The studies were conducted in laboratory animals and humans, including infants, children, healthy adults, lactating women, diabetics, obese people and people with the rare genetic disease phenylketonuria (PKU). In addition to EFSA, the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Scientific Committee Food (SCF) of the European Union and regulatory agencies of more than 100 countries have reviewed aspartame and found that its use was safe.

In 2007, an extensive evaluation of the safety of over 500 studies related to aspartame, “Aspartame: a safety assessment based on current usage rates, regulations, and toxicological and epidemiological studies,” was published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology. “The expert panel concluded that aspartame is a safe sweetener, which has been studied exhaustively and can help reduce the calorie content of many foods,” said Dr. Berna Magnuson, lead author of the analysis, senior scientist, consultant for regulatory Cantox Health Sciences International and assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto. The panel also concluded that rates of aspartame found in the human diet are not a problem for health, there is no credible link between aspartame and diseases linked to the nervous system and behavior, or any other symptom or disease and there is no evidence indicating a genetic toxicity or carcinogenicity, or evidence to support a link combining aspartame and the development of obesity.

As of 2013, aspartame has been approved for use in food and beverages for 30 years.

To view EFSA’s draft opinion, click here.

Items of Interest

January 8, 2013 Press Releases