World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Friday the sweetener aspartame is a possible carcinogen but it remains safe to consume at agreed levels.
The judgments are the outcome of two separate WHO expert panels, one reviews whether any evidence that a substance is a potential hazard, and the other which assesses how much of a real-life risk that substance actually poses.
Aspartame is one of the world’s most popular sweeteners, used in products from Coca-Cola diet sodas to Mars’ Extra chewing gum.
In a press conference ahead of the announcement, the WHO’s head of nutrition, Francesco Branca, urged consumers weighing beverage choices not to consider aspartame.
“If consumers cannot decide whether to take cola with sweeteners or one with sugar, there should be a third option – which is to drink water instead,” Branca said.