EFSA concludes aspartame is safe at current levels of exposure following completion of full risk assessment

Aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for human consumption at current levels of exposure, EFSA concluded in its first full risk assessment of this sweetener. To carry out its risk assessment, EFSA has undertaken a rigorous review of all available scientific research, both published and unpublished, on aspartame and its breakdown products, including both animal and human studies.

The assessment was undertaken by EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel), who considered all available information and, following a detailed analysis, concluded that the current Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) is safe for the general population.

In patients suffering from the medical condition phenylketonuria (PKU), the ADI is not applicable, as they require strict adherence to a diet low in phenylalanine (an amino acid found in proteins).

Experts have ruled out a potential risk of aspartame causing damage to genes and inducing cancer. EFSA’s experts also concluded that aspartame does not harm the brain, the nervous system or affect behaviour or cognitive function in children or adults. With respect to pregnancy, the Panel noted that there was no risk to the developing fetus from exposure to phenylalanine derived from aspartame at the current ADI (with the exception of women suffering from PKU).

The re-evaluation of aspartame is part of the systematic re-evaluation of all food additives approved before 2009 (a programme set up by Commission Regulation (EU) No 257/2010).

Read the 'Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of aspartame (E 951) as a food additive'