Aspartame-sweetened foods and beverages are safe, according to a definitive new finding issued jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The WHO and FAO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) reviewed decades of high-quality evidence and real-world consumption data, establishing an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) at which aspartame can be safely consumed daily over the course of an entire lifetime.

ICBA Executive Director Kate Loatman applauded the WHO and FAO finding, commenting: “This definitive conclusion by the world’s leading health and food safety experts once again affirms that aspartame is safe. After rigorous review, this landmark WHO and FAO finding further strengthens confidence in the safety of aspartame and will play a vital role in informing consumers as they consider all options to reduce sugar and calories in their diets.

“JECFA’s comprehensive conclusion that aspartame is safe builds on the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence for more than four decades, as well as positive determinations by food safety authorities in more than 90 countries,” she continued.

Addressing an opinion released simultaneously by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which was first leaked June 29, Loatman added: “IARC, which is not a food safety agency, has now officially conceded that aspartame poses no more of a hazard than aloe vera and hundreds of other substances that it places in the same category based on evidence IARC itself describes as ‘limited’ and ‘less than sufficient.’

“While IARC’s leaked opinion may have needlessly confused consumers with sensational speculation, IARC has already deferred to the WHO and FAO joint expert committee ― which just once again found aspartame safe ― as the appropriate global authority to comprehensively assess the safety of consuming aspartame,” she continued.

In line with this announcement, the American Beverage Association also addressed the new finding.

“Aspartame is safe. After a rigorous review, the World Health Organization finds aspartame is safe and ‘no sufficient reason to change the previously established acceptable daily intake,’” said Kevin Keane, Interim President and CEO of American Beverage, in response to the World Health Organization Review of Aspartame, in a statement. “This strong conclusion reinforces the position of the FDA and food safety agencies from more than 90 countries. People all around the world can be confident in consuming food and beverages with aspartame.

“The safety of our products is the highest priority for our industry,” he continued. “The purpose and expertise of food safety agencies is to ensure safety over time. The WHO has done this again, rigorously and definitively, with aspartame. With more than 40 years of science and this definitive conclusion from the WHO, consumers can move forward with confidence that aspartame is a safe choice, especially for people looking to reduce sugar and calories in their diets.”