This article is 5 months old
Reaction to Reuters report that the sweetener aspartame is to be declared "possibly carcinogenic to humans" by IARC

Reuters has reported that aspartame, one of the most common artificial sweeteners, will be listed as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an agency of the World Health Organisation, in July.

29/06/2023 - 12:08 CEST
Expert reactions

Rafael Urrialde - aspartamo IARC EN

Rafael Urrialde de Andrés

Professor at the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Complutense University of Madrid and at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the San Pablo-CEU University, and member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Society of Nutrition

Science Media Centre Spain

We will have to wait until 14 July and see how the assessment determines and in which group it falls. From then on, the Food Safety Agencies and Authorities will have to determine whether to re-evaluate, ban or maintain authorisation and under what conditions, whether to continue with the same Acceptable Daily Intake or to lower it and to what extent it is lowered.  

Aspartame is present in many types of foods and beverages, although in warm countries, due to taste deviations caused by high temperatures, it is used in lower concentrations and in combination with other sweeteners than, for example, in central and northern Europe. 

Here are the IARC categories:  

Conflicts of interest: "From 1986 to 1992 I worked at the Faculty of Biological Sciences in the Chair of Plant Physiology as a collaborator and developing the work of my doctoral thesis. In 1991-1992 I worked as a Scientific Collaborator in the Plant Freezing Unit at the Cold Institute of the Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). From 1992 to 2000 I worked in a Consumers' Association, in the Spanish Consumers' Union and in the Revista de Consumo Ciudadano (edited by 5 consumer associations), where I was the Director of Food and Health and the Technical Director, respectively. From 2000 to 2006 I worked at Puleva as Director of Food Safety and Health. From 2006 to 2020 at Coca-Cola Iberia as Deputy Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs and later as Director of Nutrition and Health. Since 2020 I am Professor in different Faculties of different Universities: Faculty of Biology of the UCM, Faculty of Pharmacy of the USP CEU, Faculty of Nursing of the University of Valladolid and I collaborate in different masters in food, applied plant biology and food safety of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the UCM, of the Faculties of the Campus of Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona, of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Seville and of the Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Granada. I am a Full Academician of the Royal European Academy of Doctors-RAED and member of its Governing Board and Honorary Academician of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, President of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Society of Sports Medicine and Member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Society of Nutrition-SEÑ. I am also a member or partner of several scientific societies: Spanish Society of Food Safety-SESAL, Spanish Society of Community Nutrition-SENC, Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics-AEND, Spanish Society of Nutrition-SEÑ, Spanish Society of Sports Medicine and member of the Board of Trustees of the Spanish Nutrition Foundation-FEN. Since March 2020, I have no conflict of interest because I have no contractual relationship of any kind with any food company, neither in the food processing or distribution sector, nor with any pharmaceutical company. I have only collaborated with Consumer Associations and Scientific Societies or I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee in some information platforms".

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