HC Deb 25 April 1986 vol 96 cc263-4W
Mr. Campbell-Savours

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what discussions have taken place between officials of his Department and the relevant United States authorities about Dr. Wurtman's data on the use of aspartame and its alleged side-effects;

(2) if he will instruct Her Majesty's Ambassador in Washington to seek to obtain a transcript of the forthcoming Congressional hearing on the procedure followed in the original approval of aspartame for use as a food additive in the United States of America; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Whitney

In 1983, the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment considered data sent by Dr. Wurtman to the United States of America Food and Drugs Administration. In 1985 it considered the report of the United States Centers for Disease Control's review of suspected adverse reactions to aspartame. Neither of these reviews caused the COT to change its view that aspartame is safe for use in food and drink.

I am informed that some further data from Dr. Wurtman have recently been provided to the Food and Drugs Administration. It is too soon for a full evaluation of these to have taken place. The Department's professional staff has well-established arrangements with counterparts in the United States of America and other countries to ensure exchange of scientific informaton on the safety of food additives. Any relevant new informaton would be reviewed by our expert advisers. This would include reports of any Congressional hearings which consider scientific data relevant to the safety of aspartame.