The European Food Safety Authority has today published its opinion on aspartame, confirming its safety and the fact that aspartame, and its digested components, bring nothing new to our diet.
In the conclusions of its re-evaluation of aspartame, which included an exhaustive review of all of the scientific research, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has restated its view that aspartame is safe. This is the fifth time in the last seven years that EFSA has expressed its confidence in the safety of aspartame. In doing so, EFSA has also reconfirmed the results of reviews conducted by its predecessor, the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food (SCF), in 2002, 1988 and 1984.
EFSA’s opinion is consistent with evaluations conducted by the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), by the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and by the regulatory authorities of more than 100 countries, including member states of the European Union.
Aspartame is made from two amino acids, the building blocks of protein that occur widely in everyday foods and drinks. When we consume products with aspartame, it is digested to small amounts of common dietary components. Apart from an excellent sweet taste without calories, aspartame brings nothing new to our diet.
Of all the low calorie sweeteners, aspartame has a sweetness that most closely replicates the taste of sugar. It therefore has a key role to play in enabling food and drink manufacturers to deliver against commitments to tackle overweight and obesity. Aspartame is used in leading brands of soft drinks, yoghurts, desserts, confectionary, chewing gums, hot chocolate drinks and table-top sweeteners.
As well as contributing to weight control, products with aspartame play a useful role in the management of diabetes, allowing patients to enjoy the sweet taste without an adverse effect on blood sugar levels.
Aspartame is also kind to teeth and contributes to good dental hygiene.
EFSA’s reconfirmation of the safety of aspartame is welcome news for food and drink manufacturers, for governments and health authorities trying to tackle the health consequences of overweight and obesity and, above all, for consumers.