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According to reports, the World Health Organization’s cancer research division is expected to label aspartame, one of the world’s most extensively used artificial sweeteners, as “possibly carcinogenic.”
By the report, it will release its findings next month.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the WHO’s cancer research arm, will label aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” for the first time in July, according to the people who spoke to Reuters. Aspartame is an additive included in a variety of goods, including several Snapple beverages, Extra chewing gum, and diet sodas from Coca-Cola.
Although the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) verdict is not public until July 14, sources told Reuters that the agency had completed its review of the aspartame sweetener as possibly causing cancer by late June.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is 180 times sweeter than table sugar and is included in a variety of items including ice cream, diet cold drinks, and chewing gum.
These are also known as sugar replacements’ or non-nutritive sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners, while they taste sweet, contribute little to no energy to the body.
The IARC decision will merely be a “first fundamental step towards understanding [aspartame’s] carcinogenicity.”
WHO ban on Artificial Sweetener
According to the report, a distinct WHO group called the Joint WHO and Food and Agriculture Organization’s Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) would give recommendations on how much of the sweetener someone can safely ingest.
The WHO Committee on Additives is known as JECFA.
It will also announce on July 14, even though it has maintained since 1981 that aspartame is safe to take within established daily limits.
Nonetheless, the predicted “possibly carcinogenic” designation of the sweetener has prompted a backlash from industry and regulatory stakeholders.
“IARC is not a food safety body, and their review of aspartame is not scientifically comprehensive and is heavily based on widely discredited research,” the International Sweeteners Association’s secretary general, Frances Hunt-Wood, told Reuters.
Last month, the WHO issued a warning against the use of artificial sweeteners, claiming that long-term usage could raise the risk of acquiring Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in adults.
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