The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion on the safety of the artificial sweetener aspartame. EFSA’s scientific experts have drawn upon all available information on aspartame and its breakdown products and, following a detailed and methodical analysis, have concluded in this draft opinion that they pose no toxicity concern for consumers at current levels of exposure. The current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is considered to be safe for the general population and consumer exposure to aspartame is below this ADI. This is the first full evaluation of aspartame that has been requested of EFSA and has been carried out by the Authority’s Scientific Panel on Food Additive and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel).
All stakeholders and interested parties are invited to comment on the draft opinion through the online public consultation by Feb. 15, 2013. As part of this process, EFSA will also hold a meeting with interested parties to discuss its draft opinion and the feedback received from the online public consultation.
The ANS Panel’s draft opinion has benefitted from the latest scientific thinking and methodological approaches. This comprehensive review was made possible following two public calls for data which made available a large body of scientific information, comprising both published and previously unpublished data and studies. This included the 112 original documents on aspartame that were submitted to support the request for authorization of aspartame in Europe in the early 1980s. In the interest of transparency and openness EFSA published the full list of these scientific studies and also made publicly available previously unpublished scientific data. This information has been critically evaluated and interpreted by EFSA’s experts to underpin the key discussion points addressed in the draft opinion.
EFSA has also published a set of Frequently Asked Questions to help explain some of the key scientific concepts and initial conclusions of the draft opinion. Feedback from the consultation will be compiled in a report and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final scientific opinion, which the ANS Panel aims to adopt by May 2013.