Food Law News - EU - 2002

FSA News Item, 18 December 2002

ADDITIVES - Food safety committee reviews aspartame

The European Commission's Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) has published its updated opinion on the safety of the sweetener aspartame after an extensive review of more than 500 pieces of research.

The Committee concluded - on the basis of its review of all the data available to date - that there is no need to revise its earlier risk assessment, which concluded that aspartame is safe. The SCF also concluded that there is no need to revise the previously established Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) calculation for aspartame of 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (40mg/kg bw/day).

The Food Standards Agency had pressed the European Commission to review the safety of aspartame at the earliest opportunity and provided assistance in preparing a summary report for consideration by the SCF. The SCF reviewed a large number of papers published in the scientific literature on the safety of aspartame, including studies supporting the safety of aspartame and others pointing to potential adverse effects. The most recent reviews of the sweetener were conducted by the SCF in 1988 and by the UK Committee on Toxicity (COT) in 1992.

The Agency supports the conclusions of the Committee's thorough and timely review on the safety of the sweetener. The FSA also reiterates that all approvals of food additives should be kept under review as and when new scientific information becomes available.

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