Why did EFSA not reduce its ADI for aspartame or recommend its use should no longer be permitted?

by Erik Paul Millstone and Elisabeth Dawson

published in Archives of Public Health: https://archpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13690-020-00489-w


On behalf of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Kass and Lodi recently published a letter purporting to
‘refute’ our July 2019 analysis of EFSA’s December 2013 assessment of the risks of aspartame. We had previously
claimed inter alia that the EFSA panel had evaluated studies that had indicated that aspartame might be harmful
far more sceptically than those that had not indicated harm. We reported that EFSA had deemed every one of 73
studies suggesting harm to have been unreliable. Kass and Lodi provided a tabulation with figures that differed
from ours in every detail. This commentary shows that, while Kass and Lodi provided a response to our analysis,
they have not come close to refuting it. Our analysis provided detailed characterisations of each of the studies and
how the panel interpreted them, but Kass and Lodi provide no corresponding information at all. Kass and Lodi
claim that EFSA deemed 21 of 35 studies that had indicated possible harm to have been reliable. But if that is so,
we now ask: why did the EFSA panel not recommend that aspartame should be banned, or at least tightly