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Centre mulling its own standards on artificial sweeteners: Report

FSSAI, meanwhile, is said to be conducting a comprehensive scientific study of non-sugar sweeteners and aspartame.
Last Updated : 07 July 2023, 15:41 IST

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After artificial sweetener aspartame came under the scanner following reports that said that World Health Organization (WHO) may declare it as a 'carcinogen', the Centre is reportedly looking to set its own standards on artificial sweeteners.

"We don't have to follow the West or East as India is in a powerful situation... We are working on what the effect of consuming aspartame or other sweeteners can have on the Indian population," Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Advisor H S Oberoi was quoted as saying by Economic Times.

Oberoi also said the guidelines and thresholds on the usage of artificial sweeteners will depend on its own risk assessment studies and will be in consultation with all stakeholders.

"We don't have to go by what the world says. Our regulation will be based on what our scientists feel is good for the Indian population, based on risk assessment studies and in consultation with all stakeholders," he said.

FSSAI, meanwhile, is said to be conducting a comprehensive scientific study of non-sugar sweeteners and aspartame on the basis of insights pertaining to the country's population.

News agency PTI, quoting Oberoi, said that a panel is already working to decide the "threshold limit" for sugar, salt and fat permissible.

"WHO has come out with one policy paper saying that sweeteners linked to weight management is linked to cancer and the second (that), non-sugar sweetener aspartame can cause cancers," he said.

In this regard, FSSAI panels are discussing the steps to be taken by the government.

"These studies have to be done comprehensively before coming to any conclusion," he noted.

Instead of going with foreign data, he said, FSSAI is working with India-based insights.

"That is what we are looking at from the Indian perspective. We really do not have to go to what the world says. A lot of recommendations keep coming out but when we look at the Indian perspective, we look at the Indian population," he said.

Aspartame is a popular artificial sweetener found in Diet Coke, chewing gum, yoghurt and other food products and may soon be declared a possible carcinogen by a WHO arm, Reuters had reported last week.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published 07 July 2023, 09:49 IST

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