New aspartame review in Europe criticised

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 30th May 2011

energy-drink.gifThe European Food Safety Authority has criticised a request by the European Commission for a re-evaluation of the safety of the sweetener aspartame.The Commission’s request comes despite the fact that EFSA reviewed the latest studies on aspartame last month and scheduling a full evaluation in 2020.

“When we evaluated scientific studies on aspartame recently, we didn’t see anything glaring that would lead us to believe people should change their daily intake,” said an EFSA spokesperson.

The latest EFSA-reviewed studies assessed links between aspartame, cancer and pre-term births and its results did not flag up problems justifying a review of the sweetener’s safety, the spokesperson said. “The re-evaluation is not originating from a scientific point of view, in light of this,” she added.

The European Commission admitted to just-food that political considerations were a motivation.

A spokesman said the Commission’s request followed “concerns raised by some representatives of the European Parliament as well as the European Consumers Organisation BEUC”.

Last month, the European Parliament called for mandatory warning labels for pregnant women on all products containing aspartame.

Nevertheless, EFSA will comply with the request. “Safety can’t be defined in one way,” the EFSA spokesperson said. “There are many different aspects, so we will carry this review out.”
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