Food Law News - UK - 2003

FSA Press Release (2003/0370), 1 May 2003

ADDITIVES - FSA advises parents to limit number of soft drinks containing the sweetener cyclamate given to young children

The Food Standards Agency is advising parents to give no more than three beakers (approximately 180ml each) per day of dilutable soft drinks or squashes containing the sweetener cyclamate, also known as E952, to young children.

This is a precautionary measure as drinking more than this amount could result in children aged one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half being above the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for cyclamate, a safety level recommended by independent scientific experts.

The Agency is also recommending that when preparing dilutable soft drinks containing cyclamate for young children, parents should dilute them more than they would for an adult. Products containing cyclamate are required by law to be labelled 'with sweetener' or 'with sugar and sweeteners' and include the names cyclamate, cyclamic acid or E952 in the list of ingredients.

The Food Standards Agency is pressing the European Commission, other Member States and soft drinks manufacturers to reduce the maximum permitted level of cyclamate used in all soft drinks. This will ensure that even young children who drink large amounts of dilutable soft drinks will not exceed the ADI for cyclamate.

Results of the FSA survey of soft drinks consumed by young children, published today, showed that they drink three times as many dilutable soft drinks per day than any other type of soft drink containing additives, such as carbonated drinks.

The survey and subsequent calculations by the Agency indicate that even though manufacturers have not exceeded the maximum permitted level of cyclamate in their soft drink formulation, when drinking large amounts (five or more beakers) of dilutable soft drinks containing cyclamate per day, young children could be consuming up to twice the ADI for this sweetener. When drinking average amounts (one or two beakers), young children will be below the ADI for cyclamate.

Young children drinking large amounts of dilutable soft drinks containing aspartame, acesulfame K, or saccharin would not be above the ADI for these sweeteners.

Information from parents taking part in the FSA survey indicates that cyclamate was only used in a small proportion (2%) of the soft drinks given to young children during the survey period, all of which were dilutable soft drinks or carbonated drinks.

The FSA adds the following notes:

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