Aspartame is safe

ISA statement in response to new study by Millstone and Dawson

Brussels, 22nd July 2019*: Responding to the new study by Millstone and Dawson regarding the assessment of the safety of aspartame,1 the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) points to scientific opinions from food safety authorities around the world which, in line with the overwhelming body of scientific evidence available, have consistently confirmed that aspartame is safe.2

The ISA further points to the response by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), published in April 2020 in a Letter to the editor by Kass and Lodi.3 In this publication, EFSA refutes the claim of bias, highlighting the rigorous approach followed by EFSA experts for the re-evaluation of aspartame in 2013.

As for all low calorie sweeteners, and prior to being approved for use on the market, aspartame has been subject to extensive safety assessments. The conclusions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific opinion on aspartame2,4, published in December 2013, reconfirmed that aspartame is not a safety concern. The EFSA Opinion on aspartame represents the most comprehensive assessment of the aspartame safety database that has ever been undertaken, examined by leading scientists from across Europe. Based on those data, EFSA’s experts could rule out any potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes or to the brain.

Additionally, a recent UK government-funded study on self-reported aspartame sensitivity, concluded that “there was no evidence of any acute adverse responses to aspartame”.5

Used in foods, beverages and tabletop sweeteners, low calorie sweeteners including aspartame can provide people with a wide choice of sweet-tasting options with low or no calories, and thus can be a useful tool, when used in place of sugar and as part of a balanced diet, in helping reduce overall sugar and calorie intake, as well as in managing blood glucose levels. Low calorie sweeteners are also non-cariogenic, which means that they do not contribute to tooth decay.

updated 8th April 2020

  2. European Food Safety Authority. Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of aspartame (E 951) as a food additive. EFSA J. 2013;11:3496. doi:10.2903/ j.efsa.2013.3496.
  3. Kass and Lodi, Letter to the editor regarding the article ‘EFSA’s toxicological assessment of aspartame: was it even-handedly trying to identify possible unreliable positives and unreliable negatives?’. Archives of Public Health volume 78, Article number: 14 (2020).
  5. Sathyapalan T, Thatcher NJ, Hammersley R, Rigby AS, Pechlivanis A, et al. (2015) Aspartame Sensitivity? A Double Blind Randomised Crossover Study. PLOS ONE 10(3): e0116212.