Déjà Vu All Over Again: EFSA Says Sucralose is Safe

  • 1990s and early 2000s: large authoritative bodies, such as the FAO/WHO and US FDA, establish, approve, and confirm the safety and use of sucralose.
  • 2006-2011: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (2006, 2009, 2011) and the FDA (2007) issue statements regarding the Ramazzini Institute’s (RI) previous work, stating that the RI’s conclusions are not supported by strong data.
  • January 2016: The RI published a study (Soffritti et al.) proposing a link between sucralose and cancer in mice.
  • February 2016: For a review of the RI study, check out our Fast Take. Additionally, EFSA requested the data from the RI study and began the process to review the study on the validity of its conclusions.
  • May 2017: Similar to IFIC’s Fast Take, EFSA concluded that “the available data did not support the conclusions of the authors (Soffritti et al., 2016).”

The late great Yogi Berra had a way with words. My personal favorite Yogism, “It’s deja vu all over again,” never made more sense than today. Once again, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued an opinion on the safety of sucralose. News flash (insert sarcastic pause), it’s still safe.

And it’s not just experts in Europe that say so. So do the World Health Organization and the world’s leading health agencies in Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Japan and the United States.

But global authorities confirming the safety of a particular ingredient shouldn’t stop us from being inquisitive about what we eat and drink. We all have questions, and questions can be answered with sound science. Albert Einstein encouraged us to pursue answers to our toughest questions. “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing,” he famously said.

Who can argue with such a brilliant mind? We should seek answers to important questions. And do so from credible sources: those committed to the highest levels of scientific rigor. We have millions of information sources at our fingertips, and they are not all created equal. Remember, the internet is not peer-reviewed and one single study does not a consensus make.

In the case of sucralose, as EFSA reminded us again today, the peer-reviewed literature overwhelmingly supports its safety. But just because science says sucralose and other low-calorie sweeteners are safe, you don’t have to consume them. There are many strategies available to help us control our calorie intake. Low-calorie sweeteners are just one option.

Thank you food science for giving us that option. 


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