Next month’s promised release of a new “full re-evaluation” of the sweetener aspartame is not going to happen until at least May 2013. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) asked for the extra time, and the European Commission (EC) — the governing body for the 27-country European Union (EU) — granted its request. EFSA originally planned to do a re-evaluation of aspartame in time for a 2020 release date. The EC asked that the work be advanced by eight years and released in September 2012. In a statement on the requested delay, EFSA said the additional time will allow for scientific experts to consider new data and compete a comprehensive risk assessment in addition to allowing time for a draft version to be circulated for comments before the new re-evaluation becomes final. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that’s been involved in one of the longest running food safety controversies in history. The low-calorie sweetener is a popular table top sugar substitute and is used in beverages, desserts, dairy products, chewing gums, energy control and weight control products. EFSA last certified the safety of aspartame in 2009 in Regulation EU 257/2010. Since agreeing to move up its scheduled 2020 review, EFSA has issued a public call for scientific data as part of its “thorough literature review, ” and is now doing so again. EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS) is well into the risk assessment. In the course of its scientific deliberations, the Panel has found that there was too little data available on 5-benzyl-3,6-dioxo-2-piperazine acetic acid (DKP) and other potential degradation products that can be formed from aspartame in food and beverages when stored under certain conditions. For that reason, EFSA is launching an additional call for data on DKP and other degradation products of aspartame. In the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved aspartame in 1974 and then rescinded its approval until 1981. More than 100 other national regulatory agencies followed FDA’s approval, permitting aspartame for human use country by country. The first approvals for European countries also came in the 1980s. Yet controversy has dogged the product for the past 40 years. Unless the date is moved again, the review EFSA comes out with in 2013 will be its fifth. All previous works have attested to the aspartame’s safety. The aspartame product known as NutraSweet was ready to go in 1965. But it would be a long haul for Searle, the pharmaceutical company that did the research and development on aspartame before its own name disappeared through mergers and acquisitions. Aspartame conspiracies would drag Searle through grand juries and 60 Minutes with most making never proven claims about the sweetener causing cancer.

  • quicksilver

    Since agreeing to move up its scheduled 2020 review, EFSA has issued a public call for scientific data as part of its “thorough literature review, ” and is now doing so again.
    The EFSA review is in effect a smokescreen.

    First of all any reputable body (professional and therefore paid to do its work) should not need to be begging for scientific data on any topic.

    Has it not the resources to do this itself?

    Secondly should EFSA be placing 100 per cent reliance on industry data long shown to be corrupt to the point of alleged criminality? Only not taken to court decades ago because of political manoevures.

    Theoretically the components in aspartame, impurities and breakdown products are in 2013 KNOWN to be carcinogens. There is no argument on this except to LIE that it is not true. Sadly the opinion of the EFSA today!

    Do we need unnecessary foods with any hint of possible adverse health effects?

    The supermarket shelves in France are overloaded with products with aspartame in them and a public consuming them in total ignorance of a raging debate on whether they could possibly be harmful.

    The last lame arguments are that we shouldnt be worried as we consume in 2013 much larger amounts of carcinogens in our foods. Do they not realise you dont sort problems out by adding to the amounts of Franken foods in our diets? Aspartame is today produced by GMO technologies and therefore has inherent use of bacteria and viruses such as that of E Coli which is now in 200 of its novel forms lethal to humans but with the proviso that industry extracts all this with 100 per cent efficiency from the final pure and sacred ASPARTAME that makes so much money that we cant get from sugar sales.

    We have to ask could EFSA ban ASPARTAME even it wanted too?

    The real answer is of course NO.

    It has only the power (lack of) to reassure us while we (the unlucky few) fall victim to its IMPOTENCY (that of EFSA) we do really fall ill due to the POTENCY of carcinogenic ASPARTAME.

    Proofs take time (typically 100 years if you get lucky) but deaths can be written of as (we dont know except it wasnt X where X this time is ASPARTAME).

  • quicksilver

    One big fan of ASPARTAME was a certain Michael J Fox who managed to acquire an old mans illness at the grand old age of 29 years.

    It may have nothing to do with his addiction for foods replacing sugar with ASPARTAME.

    But if it does it just adds one more illness to those possible ills caused by this industrial chemical only obtained by chemical changes to natural products or splicing in genes to E Coli to make it turn out this substance by the million tons.

    E Coli once in pre-GMO days only seen as essential in our guts and used to measure contamination of water supplies by human excrement but now found in increasing amounts in forms not measuring human presence but measuring possibility for organ damage or death.