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New sweetener Advantame approved for use in EU

By Nicholas Robinson+

04-Jun-2014
Last updated on 04-Jun-2014 at 11:45 GMT

Advantame has been approved for use in the EU
Advantame has been approved for use in the EU

A new aspartame-derived sweetener has been approved for use in Europe by the European Commission (EC) and touted as a means for manufacturers to cut sugar content.

Advantame is claimed to be 37,000 times sweeter than sucrose and is described as a derivative of the contentious sugar alternative aspartame.

Sweetener company Ajinomoto submitted an application to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2010 for Advantame’s approval, which was granted today (June 3). It followed an EFSA scientific opinion from the Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food (ANS) last year.

‘No genotoxicity or carcinogenicity concerns’

The ANS panel concluded that Advantame did not raise any genotoxicity or carcinogenicity concerns. However, gastrointestinal disturbances were observed in maternal toxicity studies with rabbits.

“The NOAEL [no observed adverse effect level] for this effect was 500mg Advantame per kg by weight per day,” said the panel.

Those with type two diabetes and a normal glucose metabolism tolerated Advantame well in single or repeated doses of up to 0.5mg per kg by weight, it added.

“Advantame would not be of safety concern at the proposed uses and use levels as a sweetener,” said the panel and established an acceptable daily intake of 5mg per kg by weight per day.

Ajinomoto said the new sweetener would make it easier for food and beverage companies to meet commitments to reduce calories and sugar in their products.

‘Need to address over-consumption’

“The need to address the over-consumption of calories is self-evident, not just in Europe, but throughout the developed world,” a spokesman said.

“Advantame blends well with sugar and other caloric sweeteners, providing food and beverage companies with an opportunity both to reduce calories and to manage sweetening costs,” he added.

The ANS panel said the sweetener could remain stable in storage for up to five years under normal condition.

Instability was reported in some acidic beverages and in thermally treated foods, said the panel.

The new EU regulation allowing the use Advantame in Europe was published in the Official Journal of the European Union last month which highlighted the need for sugar alternatives.

‘Technological need’

“There is a technological need for the use of Advantame as a high intensity sweetener in various food and table top products in order to replace caloric sugars, thus allowing for a reduction of the caloric content of those foodstuffs,” said the journal.

“Advantame provides an alternative to already approved high-intensity sweeteners, offering consumers and the food industry the option to choose from a wider selection of sweeteners, thus reducing the intake of each individual sweetener.”

Meanwhile, the US’s Food and Drug Administration also approved Advantame for use in foods and drinks.  

The Food Manufacture Group will be holding a free one-hour webinar on obesity – Obesity and health: the big fat, sugar and salt debate – to take place at 11am on Thursday July 3.

Reserve your free place at the webinar here .

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