WHO Joins Global Scientific and Regulatory Agencies in Reaffirming the Safety of Aspartame

Aspartame’s Safety Confirmed by More Than 100 Studies, Making it One of the Most Rigorously

Researched Ingredients in the Food Supply

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) findings that aspartame is safe adds to the extensive body of work that has shown the same. More than 90 credible global scientific and regulatory food agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food & Safety Authority (EFSA), and trusted scientific and medical groups, such as the American Medical Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs, the American Diabetes Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, all confirm the safety of aspartame.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) is charged by the WHO to evaluate ingredients like aspartame and determine their safety. After conducting a thorough re-assessment, JECFA concluded there are no concerns regarding adverse effects of consuming aspartame at current levels and reaffirmed the acceptable daily intake level (ADI), underscoring its previous conclusion that aspartame is safe. 

“The JECFA ruling not only confirms the four decades of science concluding aspartame is safe but also provides real-life context around the safe consumption of this ingredient,” said Robert Rankin, President, Calorie Control Council. “In order to reach JECFA’s conservative ADI estimates, the average 150 lb. person would need to consume about 14 12-oz cans of diet beverages or about 74 packets of aspartame-containing tabletop sweetener every day over the course of their life to raise any safety concern. Obviously, that level of consumption is not realistic, recommended, nor is it aligned with the intended use of these ingredients.” 

The public wants options when it comes to managing sugar and calorie reduction. Low- and no-calorie sweeteners – including aspartame – are a proven safe and effective choice.

“Consumers have a strong desire for reliable and science-based information and JECFA’s review reaffirms the overwhelming body of evidence that confirms aspartame is safe. To assert otherwise is misleading, inaccurate, and fearmongering to the nearly 540 million people globally living with diabetes and millions of others managing their body weight who rely on and/or chose products that contain low- and no-calorie sweeteners such as aspartame,” continued Rankin. 

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also released the report summarizing its hazard assessment of aspartame. In response, Rankin added, “IARC is not a regulatory agency or food safety authority. IARC looks for substances that could potentially cause cancer without considering actual dietary intake, and has found many things, such as drinking hot water and working at night to be probably carcinogenic. It is not only wrong but potentially damaging to certain populations for position IARC’s report alongside true scientific and regulatory agencies like JECFA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the European Food Safety Authority.”

“Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) reviews have continued to affirm prior standings of their practice recommendations on the safety and Acceptable Daily Intake levels of aspartame. JECFA is a committee that I trust as a credible authority and I will not be making any adjustments of my recommendations to my patients regarding aspartame intake,” said Dr. Keri Peterson, Medical Advisor for the Calorie Control Council.

“I am a food toxicologist who has published extensively on the metabolic fate and safety studies of aspartame in animals, humans and experimental systems. The totality of the data confirms that aspartame is NOT a carcinogen. This is consistent with the conclusion of the risk assessment by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), who reaffirmed the safety of aspartame using the same database as that was used by IARC. In my opinion, the value of “hazard only” classifications based on IARC’s unique limited criteria must be questioned as it leads to considerable confusion, and lack of trust in the scientific process and comprehensive government risk assessments,” said Dr. Bernadene Magnuson, Scientific Advisor for the Calorie Control Council.

“JECFA’s reaffirmation of the safety of aspartame was the right call, based on the huge body of credible evidence on the safety of aspartame. The IARC statement is perplexing, to say the least, and quite contrary to the credible evidence. What is clear however, is why JECFA reaffirmed aspartame’s safety, given that aspartame is among the most studied sweeteners, and its safety has been supported by global health authorities for decades, said Dr. Keith Ayoob, Scientific Advisor for the Calorie Control Council.

Additional Resources about the Safety of Aspartame:

faq2Do you have questions about low-calorie sweeteners? Want to learn more about maintaining a healthy lifestyle? You asked and we listened. Our resident Registered Dietitians answered the most popular questions about low-calorie sweeteners.

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