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European panel says sucralose is safe, not a carcinogen

The European Food Safety Authority's investigation of sucralose, the artificial sweetener in Splenda, refutes a study by the Ramazzini Institute in Italy claiming it increases risk for leukemia.

By
Amy Wallace
The European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA, confirms sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda, is safe and does not cause cancer. Photo by Heartland Food Products Group
The European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA, confirms sucralose, the sweetener in Splenda, is safe and does not cause cancer. Photo by Heartland Food Products Group

May 9 (UPI) -- Sucralose, the artificial sweetener in Splenda, has been found to be safe and not cancer causing, according to the European Food Safety Authority, or EFSA.

The EFSA's findings reject previous allegations made by the Ramazzini Institute, a small Italian laboratory, which stated that mice studies they conducted showed sucralose caused cancer.

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In 2013, food advocates downgraded Splenda from "safe" to "caution" because of a study conducted at the Ramazzini Institute.

While that study and another conducted in 2015 linked sucralose to a higher risk for leukemia -- based on experiments where levels of the sweetener were fed to mice that were thousands of times higher than a person would consume -- a 2016 analysis of studies, which was funded by Splenda creator McNeil Nutritionals, suggested the sweetener is safe at normal consumption levels.

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EFSA found several issues with the Ramazzini study, including the use of an unconventional design leading to inconclusive, unreliable results and were unable to prove any probable effect of sucralose on tumor development.

They also found that reliable data interpretation was compromised and the conclusions drawn were not supported by data.

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The Ramazzini Institute has been criticized in the past for not complying with recognized research standards in its sweetener studies.

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Members of the U.S. Congress have also expressed concerns related to funding of the Ramazzini lab, which they suggest does not adequately meet scientific integrity standards.

The safety of sucralose has been demonstrated by a large number of researchers, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and other regulatory agencies, with more than 110 scientific studies designed and conducted to meet the recommended research programs set by expert health authorities investigating the safety of new food ingredients.

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