WHO said it had classified aspartame, an artificial sweetener commonly used in soft drinks, as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”, but left the acceptable daily intake level unchanged.
“We are not advising companies to recall products, nor are we advising consumers to stop consuming them altogether,” said Francesco Branca, director of nutrition and food safety at the World Health Organization.
“We’re just advising a little moderation,” Francesco Branca, director of nutrition and food safety at the World Health Organization, told a news conference as he presented the results of two reviews of the available evidence on aspartame.
WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carried out its first assessment of the carcinogenicity of aspartame during a meeting in Lyon, France from June 6 to 13. “The working group has classified aspartame as possibly carcinogenic to humans,” WHO said. It was placed in the Group 2B category, based on tests that specifically targeted hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. Other tests were performed on laboratory animals.
The Group 2B category also contains aloe vera extract and caffeic acid found in tea and coffee, said Paul Pharoah, professor of cancer epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. “The general public should not be concerned about the cancer risk associated with a chemical classified as Group 2B,” he said.
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