Brussels, 10th April 2019: Responding to the statement from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) regarding the stability of the sweetener sucralose when heated to high temperatures1, 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 sucralose is safe. 2
As with all low/no-calorie sweeteners, and prior to being approved for use on the market, sucralose has been subject to extensive safety assessments including the evaluation and confirmation of its stability when used to sweeten foods and beverages for use by consumers, including baked goods.
The BfR findings suggesting that particular compounds might occur when sucralose is heated to high temperatures is inconsistent with the significant body of scientific evidence demonstrating that sucralose is safe for use in foods and beverages. Studies on sucralose in baked products such as cakes and cookies show that sucralose does not break down3 nor does sucralose react with other food compounds to form new compounds.
Importantly, many of the studies referenced in the BfR report are not representative of how sucralose is used in food and beverage manufacture, nor by consumers in the home (e.g. in tabletop sweeteners). Indeed, the BfR recognises the limitations of their findings in their statement, highlighting that “there are currently insufficient data to draw final conclusions”.
The safety of sucralose is documented by one of the most extensive and thorough safety testing programmes ever conducted on a new food additive. Sucralose has been evaluated and found to be safe by many leading scientific and regulatory authorities around the world including the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA)4, the Scientific Committee for Food (SCF)5 and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).6 The global scientific and regulatory consensus is that sucralose is safe.
As part of the programme to re-evaluate all food additives in the European Union, EFSA is currently reviewing sucralose. In response to the EFSA call for data on sweeteners in 2017,7 including data on sucralose, the ISA provided the authority with all available data for their assessment. ISA looks forward to the publication of EFSA conclusions.
Used in foods, beverages and tabletop sweeteners, low calorie sweeteners such as sucralose can provide people with a wide choice of sweet-tasting options with low or no calories, 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 manage blood glucose levels. Low calorie sweeteners are also non-cariogenic, which means that they do not contribute to tooth decay.