The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said its scientific panel is examining the World Health Organisation’s guidelines on non-sugar sweeteners, besides reports that suggest that aspartame is set to be declared a possible carcinogen.
A top official of the Food Safety Authority said it sets standards based on risk assessment from the Indian perspective and what its scientific panel believes is pertinent for the country.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Indian Beverage Association, HS Oberoi, Advisor, FSSAI, said a scientific panel is deliberating on what view the Indian government should take on these issues. “We will look at it from an Indian perspective. We do not have to go by what the world says. A lot of recommendations keep coming out. When we set the standards, we focus on risk assessment based on the Indian population,” he added.
In May, the World Health Organisation came out with new guidelines recommending against the use of non-sugar sweeteners to control body weight. More recently, international reports stated that WHO’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is expected to declare aspartame, a commonly used artificial sweetener, as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Meanwhile, industry players are awaiting the final report of WHO’s agency on the issue of aspartame, which is likely to come out later this month.
“Aspartame is the most researched ingredient globally. From the European Union to the US to every other market, including India, there has been enough and more research on aspartame. We will need to wait for the report to come out. There is no reaction from regulators in India or any of the global regulators. So we would wait for the truth to be out fully, and then we will be in a better position to comment,” said Sundeep Bajoria, Vice President, Coca-Cola India.