Based on available scientific evidence, there is broad agreement amongst food authorities throughout the world on the absence of adverse health effects caused by aspartame. Consequently, aspartame is allowed by regulatory authorities for a wide variety of food uses
The former Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) of the European Commission gave a positive opinion on the use of aspartame in 1988 and since then it has been in common usage in Europe and world wide in a range of sugar free and low calorie food products. The SCF continued to review the use of aspartame and published a revised opinion in 2002, which concluded that there was no evidence to suggest a need to revise the outcome of their earlier risk assessment.
Thorough and independent scientific evaluation of available studies has not resulted in the need to reconsider the safety of aspartame. However there continues to be a certain level of public concern with respect to the risks of aspartame use in food.
EFSA and its Advisory Forum (AF) therefore agreed on the need for a consorted European-wide initiative to address in a comprehensive manner any remaining questions raised about the safety of aspartame for use in food. Preparation is underway to establish a meeting of National Experts on Aspartame to be held early in 2009. The preparation for this meeting includes the identification and thorough analysis of all new scientific evidence and other information available on aspartame since the last evaluation by the SCF in 2002. It further includes an analysis of reported adverse effects of aspartame in humans and the identification of possible gaps in previous safety assessments. As part of the review, possible limitations in current knowledge will be considered along with the preparation of options (including possible communication approaches) for an EU coordinated approach to address any issues identified.
Call for Data
The purpose of this call for data is to offer all stakeholders an opportunity to draw to the attention of the team preparing the meeting of National Experts any relevant documented information that may otherwise not be available to them through the published literature.
Such information should, ideally, be in a published form. Other submissions will need to be as comprehensive as possible. While the team is particularly interested in data and information in the areas below, data and information on other aspects would also be welcome.
Areas of particular interest are:
- Brain function, including mood changes
- Effects on satiation and appetite
- Epidemiological data, including exposure data
- Fertility and reproduction
- Immunotoxicity and allergenicity
- Metabolic aspects and diabetes
- Cancer and genetic effect
The team preparing the data for the National Experts meeting would also be interested to know if, in addition to making a submission, you would be willing to discuss the information you have supplied. Please indicate that this is the case by stating so and providing your full contact details (including Name, contact address, telephone number, and email contact).
Submissions should be sent to this e-mail address: aspartamecallfordata [at] efsa.europa.eu
See the mandate for the EFSA meeting of national experts on aspartame.
Scientific Committee and Advisory Forum Unit
European Food Safety Authority
Largo N. Palli 5/A, I-43100 Parma, Italy
tel: + 39 0521 036541
fax: +39 0521 0360541