Aspartame is an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and beverages. The function(s) performed by the food additive when used in cooking.
In 1997, due to public concerns, the UK government introduced a new regulation obliging food makers who use sweeteners to state clearly next to the name of their product the phrase “with sweeteners”.
Aspartame breakdown products include phenylalanine, aspartame must be avoided by people with the genetic condition phenylketonuria.
Aspartame has been the subject of several controversies since its initial approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
There have been controversies in other countries as well. In 2007, the Indonesian government considered banning aspartame. In the Philippines, the small political party Alliance for Rural Concerns introduced House Bill 4747 in 2008 with the aim of having aspartame banned from the food supply. In the U.S. state of New Mexico a bill to ban aspartame was introduced in 2007, and subsequently rejected. A similar 2008 Hawaiian bill stalled in committee for lack of evidence. In March 2009, the California OEHHA identified aspartame as a chemical for consultation by its Carcinogen Identification Committee. So far no conclusions or updates have been published on the OEHHA website.
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