EFSA: Sucralose is safe and does not cause cancer

EFSA's examination of sucralose has found no safety issues after a scientific paper found a link between the sweetener & cancer. © iStock

Scientific evaluations of sucralose, conducted by The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), find no link between the sweetener and cancer.

Published in the EFSA Journal, the findings are a direct response to allegations made by Italian researcher Morando Soffritti of the Ramazzini Institute.

The Institute’s trials with mice were suggestive of sucralose’s harmful effects but its results were largely dismissed by the food industry, critical of its study design and methodology.

EFSA concluded that "the available data did not support the conclusions of the authors,” agreeing that the researchers used an unconventional design resulting in inconclusive, unreliable data.

The Panel also noted the lack of a mode of action and failure to meet considerations for a cause–effect relationship between sucralose intake and tumour development.

Moreover, there was no reliable evidence of in vivo genotoxicity.

ISA response

The International Sweeteners Association’s (ISA) chairman Robert Peterson welcomed the findings commenting that “this scientific opinion from EFSA is entirely consistent with the global scientific and regulatory consensus that sucralose is safe.”

The association added that sucralose can be a useful tool, when used in place of sugar and as part of a balanced diet, in helping reduce overall sugar and calorie intake, as well as manage blood glucose levels.

“Low calorie sweeteners are also non-cariogenic, which means that they do not contribute to tooth decay.”

Scrutiny of sucralose stretches back to 1989, when EFSA (known as Scientific Committee on Food (SCF)) first conducted a safety assessment of the sweetener.

This was followed up in 2000, where an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 15 milligrams per kilogram of body weight mg/kg was set.

Fast forward to the end of 2015, where EFSA decided to expand the sweetener’s use in foods for special medical purposes for children.

Sucralose, listed as E 955 in Europe, is around 600 times sweeter than sugar that is used in over 4,500 food, beverage and pharmaceutical products around the world.

In 2011, sucralose accounted for 27.9% of the global sweetener market worth €1.015 billion ($1.146 bn), according to Leatherhead Food Research.

Source: EFSA Journal

Published online ahead of print:  doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2017.4784

“Statement on the validity of the conclusions of a mouse carcinogenicity study on sucralose (E 955) performed by the Ramazzini Institute.”

Authors: Fernando Aguilar et al.

Related News

© iStock

Taiyo introduces sweet-tasting dietary fibres

Tate & Lyle renews sucralose partnership with McNeil Nutritionals

Tate & Lyle renews sucralose partnership with McNeil Nutritionals

Increased competition from Chinese suppliers has affected sucralose profitability

Tate & Lyle raises sucralose prices 20%

Sucralow? EC calls on EFSA to re-assess sucralose after a scientific paper found a link between the sweetener & cancer. © iStock

EFSA to assess sucralose following cancer concerns

Sucralose sweetener may modify sugar metabolism: Study

Sweet nothing in Soffritti's work?

Industry damns sucralose study at cancer conference

'More studies are necessary to determine the safety of sucralose. We believe these studies are urgent, considering that millions of people may be exposed.' writes Morando Soffritti. © iStock / Zirafek

Controversial study linking sucralose and cancer is published

Comments (1)

Dario Battacchi - 15 May 2017 | 01:57


Hello, I would just like to let You know that back in 1989 there was no EFSA, but SCF (Scientific Committee on Food). Best regards, Dario Battacchi

15-May-2017 at 13:57 GMT

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.