Aspartame is the world’s most widely used #artificial #sweetener, yet a new paper published by researchers from the University of Sussex argues that its safety for human consumption should be further questioned. The study provides an appraisal of the most recent assessment of #aspartame safety by the European Food Safety Authority’s (#EFSA) Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food, published in 2013.
Dr Elisabeth Dawson and Professor Erik Millstone, an expert on food chemical safety policy, from the University of Sussex found many flaws in the EFSA’s 2013 assessment for aspartame, most significant perhaps the discounted 73 studies that indicated the ingredient could cause harm. Dawson and Millstone assessed each of the 154 studies the EFSA had reviewed and found that the panel set a very low standard for studies that did not indicate any adverse effects but a higher one for those that do. They are calling for a consistent benchmark to be used throughout all results and for the sale of aspartame to be suspended in the EU pending an independent and thorough re-examination of relevant evidence.
Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City, University of London who was not involved in the research, said: “The paper is both important and timely. The global health advice is to reduce sugar intake, yet much of the food industry – especially soft drinks – maintains the #sweetness by substituting artificial sweeteners. Millstone and Dawson help expose that strategy for what it is, a continued sweetening of the world’s diet. The healthy strategy is surely to tackle the cultural reinforcement of sweetness and to encourage less #sweet foods and drinks, full stop. Surely we should now argue: reduce both #sugar and artificial alternatives. ”