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EU food agency says aspartame safe for health

Updated: 2013-12-11 12:56
( English.news.cn)

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on Monday announced that it has completed "risk assessment on aspartame" and concludes it is safe for human health.

"Aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure," the EFSA concluded in its first full risk assessment of this sweetener.

According to the EFSA press release, to carry out its risk assessment, EFSA has undertaken a rigorous review of all available scientific research on aspartame and its breakdown products, including both animal and human studies.

"This opinion represents one of the most comprehensive risk assessments of aspartame ever undertaken. It's a step forward in strengthening consumer confidence in the scientific underpinning of the EU food safety system and the regulation of food additives", said the Chair of EFSA's Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Foods (ANS Panel), Dr Alicja Mortensen.

According to the EFSA press release, experts of ANS Panel have concluded that the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 40mg/kg bw/day is protective for the general population; however, in patients suffering from the medical condition phenylketonuria (PKU), the ADI is not applicable.

It said that following a thorough review of evidence provided both by animal and human studies, experts have ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer, and the EFSA's experts also concluded that aspartame does not harm the brain, the nervous system or affect behavior or cognitive function in children or adults.

With respect to pregnancy, the Panel noted that there was no risk to the developing fetus from exposure to phenylalanine derived from aspartame at the current ADI (with the exception of women suffering from PKU).

Aspartame was authorized for use in the EU in 1994 as an artificial sweetener that is used in many soft drinks and 'light' food products on the European market as an alternative to sugar substances.

With the conclusions, the EFSA suggested the European Commission to work towards strengthening the confidence of European consumers in products containing aspartame.