Popular Sweetener Deadly?!

(GoRealNewsNow.com) – According to a new report, aspartame, one of the most widely-used artificial sweeteners in the world, will be declared a possible cause of cancer by a UN health organization.

For the first time, in July, aspartame will be listed as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a body of the World Health Organization’s (WHO), Reuters reports, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The artificial sweetener is used in food and beverage products such as Coca-Cola’s diet sodas, some Snapple drinks, and Mars’ Extra chewing gum.

The IARC decision was reached in June based on conclusions reached by the body’s external experts.

The agency’s listing doesn’t specify whether a potentially carcinogenic product could be consumed in safe doses; it only assesses whether it might present a risk.

The recommendations on safe dosage come from another WHO group, an expected committee on food additives called JECFA (the Joint WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization’s Expert Committee on Food Additives) – and from national regulators.

“Similar IARC rulings in the past for different substances have raised concerns among consumers about their use, led to lawsuits, and pressured manufacturers to recreate recipes and swap to alternatives. That has led to criticism that the IARC’s assessments can be confusing to the public,” the news agency comments.

JECFA is also reviewing aspartame and will announce its still unknown ruling on July 14, the same day as the IARC.

JECFA has maintained that aspartame is safe within limits established in 1981. Thus, an adult weighing 132 pounds (60 kg) would be at risk if drinking 12 to 36 cans of diet soda daily.

Industry groups have reacted to the leak on IARC plans by criticizing them and urging caution.

“IARC is not a food safety body and their review of aspartame is not scientifically comprehensive and is based heavily on widely discredited research,” said Frances Hunt-Wood, head of the International Sweeteners Association (ISA).

ISA’s members feature a Coca-Cola subsidiary, Mars Wrigley and Cargill.

Kate Loatman, director of the International Council of Beverages Associations, declared the “leaked opinion” “could needlessly mislead consumers into consuming more sugar rather than choosing safe no- and low-sugar options.”