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The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have re-affirmed that aspartame is safe. UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe applauds the conclusions of the new, comprehensive safety review of aspartame by the WHO/ FAO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), the world’s leading food safety body for additives.

Commenting on the release of the WHO/FAO JECFA review of aspartame, Nicholas Hodac, director general of UNESDA, stated:

“Once again, aspartame is assessed as safe by the world’s leading authority on food safety, based on a rigorous review of high-quality evidence. The WHO/FAO JECFA definitive conclusion is of great importance. It strengthens public confidence in the safety of aspartame and will help consumers make well-informed food and beverage choices.’’

Mr. Hodac added: ‘’This WHO/FAO conclusion is also key in further supporting our sector’s sugar reduction efforts. For decades, we have been reducing the average sugar content in our soft drinks, largely through the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame. To make further progress in encouraging consumers towards more balanced diets, the continued support of public health authorities on the use of aspartame and other sweeteners is essential.’’

Commenting on the opinion issued by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Mr. Hodac said: “IARC is not a food safety body. It has classified aspartame, pickled vegetables and working at night as possibly carcinogenic. The fundamental aspect to consider is the potential risk on human health, which is what WHO/FAO JECFA has assessed with the conclusion that aspartame is safe.”

The WHO/FAO JECFA review of aspartame reiterates similar findings determining the safety of aspartame by over 90 food safety agencies around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).