Welcome to the first issue of ILSI Southeast Asia Region's new-look NewsFlash - bringing you monthly news and information on nutrition and food safety issues relevant to our region
Nutrition, Food Safety and Health

JUNE 2013



Seminar on Uses and Safety of Sweeteners, Jakarta  

A half-day seminar on the Uses and Safety of Sweeteners was held recently in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 30, 2013. The seminar was attended by over 130 participants from the food industry, academia and government bodies. Co-organized by ILSI Southeast Asia Region, the ILSI Indonesia Country Committee and Southeast Asian Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (SEAFAST) Center, Indonesia, the seminar's objectives were to share information on the different uses of sweetener food additives in foods and beverages, as well as their relevance to health and diet; improve understanding on the process of scientific risk assessment for sweetener food additives; and to provide updates on current approaches in managing the use of sweetener food additives at the international level and in Indonesia. Presentations from the seminar can be found from the ILSI Southeast Asia Region website here and also from the SEAFAST website here.

JECFA to review Advantame at 77th session from June 4 to 13, 2013

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) will be reviewing Advantame, a new high intensity sweetener, at their 77th meeting from June 4 to 13, 2013 in Rome, Italy. Advantame was included in the priority list of compounds proposed for evaluation by JECFA at the 44th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives, and has already been assessed previously by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) in 2011 (report). Related toxicological data on Advantame was published as part of a supplement in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. 

EFSA defers publication of final opinion on aspartame to November 2013

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has deferred the publication of its final scientific opinion on aspartame in order to further clarify identified aspects, such as the expression of uncertainties, following feedback and comments received through the online public consultation on its draft opinion. The original draft opinion was published earlier in January 2013 and established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 40 mg/kg bw/ day for aspartame, which was unchanged from prior risk assessments conducted by the EU Scientific Committee for Food and JECFA. From the draft opinion, no safety concerns were identified at the current ADI.

Philippines lifts ban on cyclamates

According to FDA Advisory No. 2013-009, the Philippines Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revoked the ban on the import, distribution, sale and use of cyclamates as a sweetening agent, which had previously been in place since 2001. Permitted use levels for cyclamates as a sweetening agent in food and beverages will now be in line with provisions found in the Codex Alimentarius General Standard for Food Additives (GFSA). As such,  food additive standards in the Philippines are now fully harmonized with the Codex GSFA.


Workshop: The science of sweetness and use of low-calorie sweeteners in weight management

The ILSI North America Committee on Low-Calorie Sweeteners organized a workshop on ‘Low-Calorie Sweeteners, Appetite and Weight Control: What the Science Tells Us’ held in the US in 2011. The workshop examined various aspects of Low-Calorie Sweeteners and their potential to be used as a tool for weight management. Topics discussed during the workshop included the basic science of sweetness, sweetness and food preferences, sweetness and satiety, as well as the current scientific evidence supporting the use of low-calorie sweeteners in weight management for both adults and children. Proceedings of the workshop were published in a supplement to the June 2012 issues of the Journal of Nutrition. The articles from the supplement can be accessed from the links below:

National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet: Artificial sweeteners and cancer

A Fact Sheet on Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer is available on the US National Cancer Institute website. The Fact Sheet provides useful answers to questions that are commonly raised about certain artificial sweeteners and their carcinogenic potential. Based on the best available scientific knowledge, there has been no clear evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners currently sold on the market are associated with cancer risk in humans.

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