EFSA receives results of aspartame cancer study

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety authority, Food additive, Aspartame, Food standards agency

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has received data on the Bologna based Ramazzini Foundation's study, which claimed to have discovered an...

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has received data on the Bologna based Ramazzini Foundation's study, which claimed to have discovered an increased risk of cancer associated with the artificial sweetener aspartame, and can now begin its review of the findings.

EFSA recently claimed that it had made several calls for this data without it being provided. However, Ramazzini countered by saying that it had previously been agreed with EFSA to supply the full results before the end of the calendar year.

It could take three to five months before EFSA's Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food (AFC) can begin to finalise its work and come to a conclusion.

EFSA said AFC would begin its evaluation of the dossier “as a matter of priority”. It will consider the data in the context of previous “extensive safety data” available, most of which gave the sweetener the all clear. A review of safety data on aspartame by the UK Food Standards Agency in 2001 came to the conclusion that aspartame was safe to use.

The latest news follows a call made last week by Liberal Democrat MP Roger Williams, a member of the parliamentary committee on food and the environment, for aspartame to be banned following publication of Ramazzini's research. Aspartame is used in around 6,000 food, drink and other products.