Friday, December 16, 2005

Cancer fears over sweetener in food

An artificial sweetener found in 6,000 types of food, drink and medicines should be banned, an MP urged last night.

Politicians were warned of 'compelling and reliable' evidence that aspartame can cause cancer.

The controversial additive is found in a huge number of popular products such as cola, cereal and chocolate.

Roger Williams, a member of the parliamentary select committee on food and the environment and Liberal Democrat MP, said any items containing aspartame should be withdrawn from sale.

His comments came after research published by the European Ramazzini Foundation in Italy over the summer linked aspartame to cancer in rats.

Leading scientists last night joined Mr Williams in calling for products containing it to be taken off the shelves.

"There is strong scientific evidence that the components of aspartame and their metabolites can cause very serious toxic effects on humans," Mr Williams said.

Aspartame is also found in chewing gum, yoghurt, and coffee sweetener.

It is consumed on average every day by one in 15 people around the world.

Mr Williams told the Commons the additive was potentially 'far more dangerous' than Sudan 1, the banned food dye linked to cancer and found in some products in

Britain earlier this year. He claimed aspartame was found in ten times more products.

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