Commission Press Release (IP/02/1085), 17 July 2002
The European Commission proposed to allow the use of two new intense sweeteners within the European Union sucralose and an aspartame-acesulfame salt. The proposal needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council.
The authorisation and use of intense sweeteners, like any other food additive,
is harmonised at EU level. The legislative framework for the approval of sweeteners
in the EU is the following:
The framework directive 89/107/EEC on food additives provides for the harmonisation of Member States legislation, sets out the procedures and criteria of the authorisation of food additives.
The sweeteners Directive 94/35/EC lays down which sweeteners are authorised in which foodstuffs, and under what conditions. With the present proposal, this Directive is amended for the second time since its adoption in 1994.
In accordance with the EU legislation, food additives can only be permitted in the EU if they are safe, necessary from the technological point of view and if they are useful for the consumer. The Scientific Committee on Food established the safety of the two sweeteners prior to the proposal being made. For sucralose, the committee set an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI defined as the amount of a food additive that a human can ingest daily over a lifetime without incurring any appreciable health risks) of 15 mg/kg bodyweight. For the salt aspartame-acesulfame salt, the Committee decided that it was covered by the safety evaluations of the two constituent sweeteners.
Sucralose is approximately 600 times sweeter than sugar and stable even when exposed to high temperature food processing. Sucralose is already authorised in over 40 countries outside the EU, including the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It can be used e.g. for soft drinks, desserts and confectionary.
The aspartame-acesulfame salt is a chemical combination of two already permitted intense sweeteners, aspartame and acesulfame K, in an equivalent mixture. Once dissolved this salt behaves exactly like a solution of aspartame and acesulfame K. It can be used e.g. in chewing gum as an aid to prolonging sweetness.
Food additives web site of the Directorate General Health and Consumer Protection:
SCF opinions on sucralose and the aspartame-acesulfame salt: