European Union’s the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment of the artificial food sweetener aspartame was recently reassessed by researchers from the United Kingdom. They found that it may not be that safe for human health as it was initially advertised to be.
Aspartame was the go to sweetener for those suffering from diabetes and prediabetic conditions. Its also commonly found in diet soft drinks and sugar-free candy. In 2013 the ESFA approved it for common use tagging it safe for general consumption as a sugar substitute. There have been numerous debates surrounding its safety for health.
Prof. Erik Millstone and Elisabeth Dawson, Ph.D., evaluated the EFSA’s analysis of the specialist literature assessing the safety of aspartame. They note that the EFSA panel considered the 73 studies that found that aspartame is potentially harmful to health to be unconvincing. Yet, looking at other evaluations of these studies, the University of Sussex researchers argue that many of those studies were more reliable than some of the research indicating that aspartame was safe.
“Our analysis of the evidence shows that, if the benchmarks the panel used to evaluate the results of reassuring studies had been consistently used to evaluate the results of studies that provided evidence that aspartame may be unsafe, then they would have been obliged to conclude there was sufficient evidence to indicate aspartame is not acceptably safe,” says Prof. Millstone.
“This research,” he continues, “adds weight to the argument that authorization to sell or use aspartame should be suspended throughout the EU, including in the U.K., pending a thorough reexamination of all the evidence by a reconvened EFSA that is able to satisfy critics and the public that they operate in a fully transparent and accountable manner, applying a fair and consistent approach to evaluation and decision making.”