BY Lorri Wickenhauser, The Western JournalJune 29, 2023
1 year ago
 | June 29, 2023
1 year ago

Big Reclassification Underway for 'Safe' Ingredient Found All Over Grocery Stores - Check Your Labels Now

A popular artificial sweetener found in a wide range of food and beverages is expected to be declared "possibly carcinogenic to humans" by a research arm of the World Health Organization, according to news reports.

Sources told Reuters Thursday that the ruling is expected to be made in July by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer research arm of the WHO.

The move could have a devastating ripple effect for manufacturers, as over 6,000 sugar-free products are manufactured with the substance, CBS reported.

Those products include Diet Coke and other reduced-calorie sodas, diet drink mixes such as Crystal Light, sugar-free chewing gum such as Trident, reduced-sugar jams and jellies and dessert mixes such as Sugar-free Jell-O.

Aspartame, a chemical compound known as methyl ester, is 200 times as sweet as table sugar, CBS reported.

The white crystalline-looking substance is often sold under the brand names Nutrasweet, Equal and Sugar Twin.

It is commonly found on grocery store shelves right next to sugar and is often packaged in paper packets and placed by restaurants in containers alongside regular sugar as an alternative sweetener for coffee, tea and other substances.

Aspartame is popular among diabetics who are trying to control their blood sugar levels.

However, CBS noted, some studies have found that people who use large quantities of the substance "had a slightly elevated risk of cancer."

"Aspartame may also cause headaches, seizures and depression, some studies have shown," according to the report.

Fortune reported that the news of the WHO branch has "put the food industry on the defensive."

The news outlet quoted the International Sweeteners Association as saying it has “serious concerns with preliminary speculation about the IARC opinion.”

Members of the ISA include PepsiCo and Skittles maker Mars Wrigley, according to the report.

Fortune also quoted a statement by Frances Hunt-Wood, secretary general of the International Sweeteners Association, who said, "Aspartame is one of the most thoroughly researched ingredients in history, with over 90 food safety agencies across the globe declaring it is safe.”

Another trade organization, the International Council of Beverages Associations, condemned the leaking of the report, saying it “could needlessly mislead consumers into consuming more sugar rather than choosing safe no- and low-sugar options,” Fortune reported.

As recently as Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website still listed Aspartame among its list of sweeteners that have been deemed "safe for the general population under certain conditions of use."

However, it added, the agency "continues to monitor the latest science available on sweeteners."

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Lorri Wickenhauser, The Western Journal



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