The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently announced its decision to delay its final opinion on the safety of aspartame until November 2013 “to allow sufficient time to consider and address feedback, including new information, resulting from the public consultation on its draft opinion.” According to the agency, the Scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel) received more than 200 comments on its January 9, 2013, draft opinion “on issues such as how EFSA’s experts select studies for its risk assessments, the safety of the metabolites of aspartame and how best to express uncertainties highlighted in the draft opinion.”

Based on this feedback, ANS Panel experts have purportedly “identified aspects of their draft opinion and key steps in their scientific approach that they would like to clarify further, including the expression of uncertainties, before finalizing their conclusions.” Finding that aspartame and its breakdown products “pose no toxicity concern for consumers at current levels of exposure,” the draft opinion also reaffirmed the current acceptable daily intake for aspartame as safe for the general population. Additional details about the draft opinion and an April 9 meeting held to discuss the public consultation appear in Issues 466 and 474 of this Update. See EFSA News Release, May 8, 2013.