Aspartame

Department of Health written question – answered on 18th September 2015.

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Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what research his Department has undertaken or commissioned on possible links between aspartame and (a) aggressive behaviour, (b) depression, (c) anxiety and (d) Graves' Disease.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what research and discussions his Department has had with the food industry and relevant professional bodies over the safety of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent discussions his Department has had with the food industry and relevant professional bodies on the safety of (a) aspartame and (b) other artificial sweeteners.

Photo of David Nuttall David Nuttall Conservative, Bury North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what recent assessment his Department has made of the safety of aspartame in food and other consumable products.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

We are advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that all food additives, including sweeteners, are only permitted after a robust evaluation of their safety. The foods in which the sweeteners can be used and their conditions of use are regulated under harmonised European Union legislation on food additives.

The results of an FSA funded study on aspartame were published in March 2015. The study was designed to examine whether self-diagnosed individuals exhibit any reactions which can be observed in a clinical setting, after consuming bars that do or do not contain aspartame. Participants showed no difference in their response whether they contained aspartame or not.

As part of its systematic re-evaluation of all food additives, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) re-evaluated the safety of aspartame and concluded in December 2013 that 'aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure'. In undertaking their re-evaluation EFSA had access to all available, relevant scientific studies and data on aspartame.

Officials in the FSA have regular discussions with industry, and other interested parties, on a range of issues. Since EFSA reaffirmed the safety on the current use of aspartame, these have not routinely included discussions on aspartame or other sweeteners.

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