2006 After assessing a long-term carcinogenicity study on aspartame EFSA’s experts conclude that there is no reason to revise the ADI for aspartame of 40 mg/kg bw/day. (Formic acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants). Stevia, the natural sweetener. Prof Millstone and Dr Dawson’s warning comes as new research from the University of Sussex Business School revealed that European regulators approved aspartame despite accepting 21 studies that showed it could have an adverse effect on consumers. EFSA is constantly vigilant to potential conflicts of interest whilst recognising that the top scientific experts in Europe can only gain their expertise by being active in their fields. It is not applicable to people who suffer from PKU – see Question 4. Aspartame is an artificial non-saccharide sweetener 200 times sweeter than sucrose, and is commonly used as a sugar substitute in foods and beverages. The opinion concludes that aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for the general population (including infants, children and pregnant women). There is no convincing evidence that consuming aspartame causes headaches. EFSA published its scientific opinion on the safety of aspartame in December 2013. Since EFSA’s establishment in 2002, the Authority has kept the safety of aspartame under regular review; its scientific panels issued advice on new scientific studies related to this sweetener in 2006, 2009 and 2011, 2013. less than the smallest amount that might cause health concerns. Aspartame, also known as Nutrasweet or Equal, is an artificial noncarbohydrate, zero-calorie sweetener that is the methyl ester of dipeptide l-aspartic acid and l-phenylalanine. per kilogram body weight. The first safety assessment of aspartame carried out in Europe was published by the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF)[*] in 1984. Aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol are also present naturally in other foods including fruit and vegetables and, for foods containing aspartame, are processed by the body in the same way as those derived from other dietary sources. When re-evaluating previously authorised additives, EFSA may either confirm, amend or withdraw an existing ADI following review of all available evidence. EFSA’s main task in relation to the safety assessment of aspartame is to respond to requests from risk managers for scientific advice and to monitor scientific literature that may affect evaluation of the safety of this substance. However, a new video from the American Chemical Society pulls … 2012 During its risk assessment of aspartame EFSA launches a call for data on 5-benzyl-3,6-dioxo-2-piperazine acetic acid (DKP) and other degradation products of aspartame, after experts find that there were insufficient data available on these substances that can form from aspartame in food and beverages when stored under certain conditions. The ANS Panel has opted to use what is known as a “mode of action”, or “human relevance” approach in its risk assessment of the safety of aspartame. Aspartame was first made in 1965 and approved for use in food products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981. In reviewing the current ADI, the ANS Panel considered findings from long-term studies conducted in experimental animals related to chronic toxicity including carcinogenicity and possible adverse health effects of phenylalanine on the developing fetus. Most PKU treatment aims to keep blood phenylalanine at acceptable levels by restriction of foods rich in protein (meat, fish, eggs, bread, dairy products, nuts and seeds), as well as foods and drinks containing aspartame. Methanol derived from aspartame is a small portion of total exposure to methanol from all sources. 2009 EFSA’s experts assess new findings on the carcinogenicity of aspartame in rats and conclude that there is no indication that aspartame is genotoxic or carcinogenic and no reason to revise the ADI for aspartame of 40 mg/kg bw/day. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, which means only a very small amount is needed to match the sweetness of sugar. Recent studies suggest artificial sweeteners may actually play a role in weight gain and risk for obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart Tuesday it has ruled out any "potential risk of aspartame causing damage toxicity, effects on the hormonal system, increased/decreased cell growth). In 2010, publication of two studies influenced the timing of the re-evaluation of aspartame. concern at the current aspartame exposure estimates,” the EFSA said in its Institute of Food Research (UK) and Weill Cornell Medical College Aspartame is authorised in the EU for use as a food additive to sweeten a variety of foods and beverages such as drinks, desserts, sweets, chewing gum, yogurt, low calorie and weight control products and as a table-top sweetener. Aspartame is a low-calorie, intense sweetener which is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar. Reaffirming its commitment to openness and transparency, EFSA published the full list of these scientific studies and also made publicly available on the EFSA website previously unpublished scientific data including the 112 original documents on aspartame which were submitted to support the request for authorisation of aspartame in Europe in the early 1980s. ADIs are usually expressed in mg per kg of body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day). The majority of these were submitted by NGOs and members of the public with most others originating from academia, national food safety agencies, the food industry and journalists. GMOs, active substances used in pesticides), must provide the evidence to prove that these substances are safe. It has been found to be safe and authorised for human consumption for many years and in many countries following thorough safety assessments. Learn more. The re-evaluation of aspartame was carried out by EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS). 2013 EFSA holds an online public consultation on its draft scientific opinion on the safety of aspartame, followed by a meeting with interested parties to discuss the feedback received from the online public consultation. It is also used in vitamins and pharmaceuticals, including syrups and antibiotics for children. The Authority neither authorises nor bans the use of substances in foods. Since 2002, EFSA has kept the safety of aspartame under regular review and its scientific panels have issued several opinions on studies related to this sweetener. Given the enormity of this task, the European Commission established a schedule of priorities for this systematic re-evaluation programme. Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a hereditary human disorder that causes high levels of phenylalanine and low levels of tyrosine in the blood. EFSA’s  opinion on aspartame clearly describes the risk assessment approach to help facilitate understanding by risk managers, stakeholders and other interested parties and better inform risk management decisions. Aspartame is a low calorie, which helps people control their weight. The Authority may also decide on a case-by-case basis to use data from studies not performed according to current standards when new data are lacking as long as the design of such studies and the reporting of the data are considered appropriate and sound. Imagine a plant so sweet it makes sugar taste positively bitter. While the EFSA recommends an acceptable daily intake of 40 milligrams It is in this context that EFSA’s Scientific Committee and Scientific Panels carry out safety assessments and review new evidence. There is no evidence that consuming aspartame causes seizures. The experts are now requesting that EFSA explain why it did not ban aspartame or tightly restrict its use in food and drink products in light of the evidence it considered. This article investigates what aspartame is … Aspartame (α-aspartyl-l-phenylalanine-o-methyl ester), an artificial sweetener, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems. Several countries, including the United States, banned it in 1969, but although the ban has been lifted in Europe, it’s still banned in the United States. National Toxicology Program. Based on the available scientific evidence, EFSA’s experts concluded that dietary exposure to methanol from aspartame does not pose a safety concern. about 3,750 milligrams of aspartame per day for a 165-pound person -- that's about 21 More than ninety countries world-wide, including the United States Footnote 1, countries of the European Union Footnote 2, and Australia and New Zealand Footnote 3, have also reviewed aspartame and found it to be safe for human consumption and allow its use in various foods. Phenylalanine is an amino acid making up protein found in many foods. The EU has set an Acceptable Daily Intake for DKP of 7.5 milligrams per kilogram body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day) to protect consumers against possible harmful effects of this substance in food. 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