Aspartame suppliers can breathe a sigh of relief after it was announced that two citizen petitions aiming to ban the use of ingredient as a non-caloric sweetener have been denied by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Citing the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Response Act, the first petition called upon the FDA to recall aspartame without manufacturer approval, calling the artificial low-calorie sweetener a “dangerous chemical.” In response, the FDA claimed the petition contained “no substantive scientific evidence demonstrating that aspartame’s use presents a public health risk or that this sweetener is adulterated or misbranded.”
The second of these petitions, citing studies from the European Ramazzini Foundation, urged the FDA to ban the use of aspartame on the basis of a clause in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which states “no additive shall be deemed to be safe if it is found to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal, or if it is found, after tests which are appropriate for the evaluation of the safety of food additives, to induce cancer in man or animal.” The FDA concluded that the petition failed to supply adequate data from the studies to demonstrate that normal consumption of aspartame poses a threat to the general population.
Additionally, in a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the American Cancer Society found that moderate aspartame consumption is not associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The study included over 100,000 older men and women, participants who completed several questionnaires relating to their health and their consumption of artificially sweeteners over a span of 20 years.
“The study supports the decades of research that have continued to find that aspartame is safe for use in foods and beverages,” said Haley Stevens, President of the Calorie Control Council. “It also supports the conclusions of the National Cancer Institute which have determined that aspartame does not increase a person’s risk of developing cancer.”
Aspartame was originally approved for consumption in dry foods by the FDA in 1974. The sweetener, which can be found in diet sodas and other sugar-free products has been a lightening rod for controversy and scandal since.