- Shoppers may not know that non-diet drinks
may also contain sweeteners
- Artificial sweeteners are being widely
used in non-diet products despite fears over health safety, according to
a report from the Food Commission.
- The commission says tests on 25 well-known
orange drinks, including Kia-Ora and Robisons, found sweeteners in both
low calorie and regular brands.
- It believes price may be the reason.
Artificial sweeteners cost a fraction of the price of sugar, despite safety
concerns about them.
- Aspartame, for example, costs two pence
per litre of drink, compared with six pence per litre for sugar.
- A government survey in 1992 found that
children were consuming large amounts of saccharin and that a significant
number of children under five were exceeding recommended safety levels.
- The Food Commission says the survey was
conducted before a change in legislation allowing companies to put sweeteners
in regular drinks.
- It believes that if the survey was conducted
now it would show children were consuming much more sweetener than in 1992.
- Dr Tim Lobstein, the Food Commission's
co-director, said: "There are continuing safety concerns about these
additives and we want their widespread use to be re-assessed."
- Health scares
- There have been several scares concerning
the most popular sweeteners. Studies on aspartame or Nutrasweet have found
the sweeteners may cause headaches and migraines.
- Saccharin has been linked to bladder
cancer in rats and other forms of cancer in monkeys.
- However, manufacturers say people have
to consume large amounts of sweeteners to become ill.
- The UK government introduced new regulations
on sweeteners in 1997 due to public concerns about them.
- These say that manufacturers must state
clearly next to the name of the product the phrase "with sweeteners".
- However, a Food Commission survey has
found many of the top companies, including Muller, St Ivel and Sainsbury's,
are ignoring the regulations.