What is Aspartame and is it safe?
Aspartame is made up of two amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) L-aspartic acid and L-phenylalanine which occur naturally in everyday foods such as meat, vegetables, fruit, grains and even breast milk, and therefore aspartame doesn’t contribute anything new or different to the diet.
More information about aspartame can be found in our FAQs or on the EFSA website.
WHY DO WE LABEL PRODUCTS CONTAINING ASPARTAME “CONTAINS A SOURCE OF PHENYLALANINE”?
All babies in the UK have their blood phenylalanine levels checked at birth via the heal prick test, to check if they suffer from PKU.
People who suffer from a rare genetic metabolic disorder called Phenylketonuria (PKU) must strictly monitor and control their intake of phenylalanine from all food sources as they are unable to break it down naturally in the body.
The contribution of phenylalanine from aspartame is insignificant compared with that from many other foods such as milk, cheese, eggs, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and even breast milk.
However in order to assist PKU sufferers in managing their diets, all products containing aspartame must be clearly labelled 'contains a source of phenylalanine’ in close proximity to the ingredients list.