EFSA opinion re-confirms confidence in aspartame

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Brussels 10 December 2013: The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) welcomes the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opinion, published today, which reconfirms that aspartame is safe.1,2

EFSA’s scientific experts have thoroughly investigated and reviewed all available data on aspartame and its breakdown products and have concluded that aspartame poses no safety concern for consumers.

As EFSA highlights in its press release, “Experts of ANS Panel have considered all available information and, following a detailed analysis, have concluded that the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 40mg/kg bw/day is protective for the general population”. EFSA further points out, “The opinion makes clear that the breakdown products of aspartame (phenylalanine, methanol and aspartic acid) are also naturally present in other foods (for instance, methanol is found in fruit and vegetables)”.3

Emeritus Professor Andrew Renwick, OBE, from the University of Southampton, who has a long standing experience in the scientific review of low calorie sweeteners, provides the following analysis: “The food industry is a very closely regulated sector. The EFSA Panel on Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food is made up of excellent experts from a wide range of disciplines who have analysed and assessed all available data. People should be confident that the data reviewed is the most up-to-date and that the EFSA opinion is based on all existing scientific facts. Aspartame is a simple compound made from two amino acids and a methyl group, all of which occur naturally in the diet and are consumed in larger amounts from other normal dietary sources.

In accordance with European regulations, EFSA was asked by the European Commission to undertake a re-evaluation of all food additives by 2020; the re-evaluation of aspartame is a part of this process.

Conclusions about the safety of aspartame support a history of safe use for more than thirty years. Evaluations conducted by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (JECFA), the World Health Organisation, the United States Food & Drug Administration – and the regulatory authorities of more than 100 countries, including member states of the European Union – all agree that aspartame is safe.

Aspartame is a great-tasting ingredient that can be enjoyed by everyone who likes sweet taste without the calories. Low calorie sweeteners such as aspartame can also help people to tackle obesity or to manage their weight. Plus, they provide an excellent choice of foods for diabetics with the added benefit of being kind to teeth.

The International Sweeteners Association (ISA) is a non-profit organisation representing manufacturers and users of low calorie foods, beverages and sweeteners. Its role is to inform and educate on the most up-to-date nutritional and scientific information in relation to the role and benefits of low calorie sweeteners, and the foods and beverages that contain them.

  1. 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. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3496
  2. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/sites/default/files/corporate_publications/files/factsheetaspartame.pdf 
  3. https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/131210