As part of an ongoing food additive assessment, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has requested additional scientific data on aspartame “related to 5-benzyl-3,6-dioxo-2-piperazine acetic acid (DKP) and other primary or secondary degradation products from aspartame.”

Asked by the European Commission in 2011 to reevaluate the safety of aspartame as a food additive, EFSA’s Scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food initially called for aspartame data by September 30, 2011, but has since determined that there is further need for “data on products which can be formed from aspartame in different types of foodstuffs, in particular on [DKP], depending [for example] on pH, temperature and storage time.”  

As a result, EFSA has delayed its findings and instead requested data on “the presence and levels of DKP found in aspartame-containing foodstuffs (including beverages) found on the market” as well as “the formation of DKP and other primary or secondary degradation products from aspartame and the amounts formed.” In particular, the agency has appealed for information about DKP, aspartame and its primary or secondary degradation products “(i) immediately after addition of aspartame; (ii) following the food production (under all processing conditions); (iii) following storage under various conditions (e.g. temperature, light and time); (iv) following preparation for serving.” The call for scientific data also includes “any information on the DKP stereoisomer used as test material in the biological and toxicological studies on DKP previously provided to EFSA” and “any data on the presence of DKP in foodstuffs from sources other than aspartame.”  

“The purpose of this call for data is to offer interested parties and all stakeholders the opportunity to submit any available documented information, published or unpublished, including also original raw data on the products which can be formed from aspartame (E 951) in the different types of foodstuffs taking into account the conditions of manufacturing and storage and the direct use as a table top sweetener,” concluded EFSA, which will accept submissions until September 30, 2012.