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Parliamentary questions
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30 October 2015
Question for written answer E-014305-15
to the Commission
Rule 130
Bart Staes (Verts/ALE)

 Subject:  Link between artificial sweeteners and metabolic disorders
 Answer in writing 

In 2013, the EFSA published a report on the safety of aspartame, in response to the growing distrust felt towards that artificial sweetener. In the report, the EFSA stated that the use of aspartame was entirely safe, except for people suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU).

As a result of further scientific research (for example by the Weizmann Institute in Israel, published in Nature in 2014), interest in the effects of artificial sweeteners (such as sucralose, saccharine and aspartame) on human metabolic processes has grown. For example, it has been claimed that such disorders as diabetes and obesity could be caused by them. The research by the Weizmann Institute showed that the sweeteners were harmful to animals and that they altered the composition of the animals' intestinal flora, which in turn could produce symptoms of diabetes. In 2013, researchers arrived at similar conclusions for human beings (Pepino et al., 2013). This has cast increasing doubts on whether such sweeteners as aspartame really are as safe and healthy as previously thought.

1. In October 2013, in reply to parliamentary Question E-009789/2013, the Commission indicated that it would follow this issue. What progress has been made on this?

2. Has the EFSA returned to this subject and conducted further research into the dangerous effects of artificial sweeteners on human metabolic processes?

3. What are the conclusions, and where can they be found?

Original language of question: NL 
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