Food Law News - EU - 2011

EFSA News Story, 18 March 2011

ADDITIVES - EFSA encourages objective scientific debate on aspartame

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) encourages sound scientific debate in which arguments from all sides are presented fairly and objectively so that interested parties can duly weigh all evidence available.  One of EFSA’s senior scientists took part in the hearing in the European Parliament on 16th March, 2011 on aspartame to explain the comprehensive body of work that EFSA has carried out on the substance over the years, including a review of two recent studies on artificial sweeteners.

Unfortunately, when reporting the outcomes of this meeting, the organisers of the hearing continue to repeat errors and misinformation. EFSA reaffirms that any possible risks from aspartame have been considered by scientific bodies worldwide and the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) ensures consumers are protected.

Notwithstanding, EFSA is continuously monitoring scientific literature regarding the safety of sweeteners and its top-level independent experts on EFSA’s Panel on Food additives and nutrient sources added to food (ANS) are preparing a further scientific opinion on aspartame. As for all areas of its work, EFSA will continue to liaise with risk assessors in the EU Member States, and with food safety agencies outside Europe in order to benefit from the broadest expertise possible.

EFSA’s most critical commitment is to provide independent scientific advice of the highest quality and it has put in place a very stringent set of procedures and processes to guarantee the independence of its scientific decision-making – as organisers of this event know very well. Every expert submits declarations of interest, which are screened for any potential conflicts of interest. If any conflict is identified, that expert cannot, and does not , take part in related discussions or evaluations.

EFSA is always ready to play its part in any scientific debate in an open, honest and responsible fashion, and would encourage all interested parties to contribute in this way to the advancement of science.

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