According to a recently published full risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the use of aspartame and its breakdown products poses no risk to human health at the current levels of exposure.

The use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener in food manufacturing has been a topic of public debate for many years. Critics claim that aspartame is linked to a number of health complications, including cancer, and have been calling for authorities to ban the use of the substance.

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For its risk assessment study the EFSA carried out a comprehensive review of all currently available scientific evidence on aspartame and its breakdown products. Researchers examined the effect of aspartame exposure in both animals and humans, the EFSA said in an official statement. The risk assessment was based on the currently established acceptable daily intake of 40mg/kg body weight daily and concluded that both aspartame and its breakdown products were safe for consumers. It did not harm the brain, the nervous system or cognitive function in children or adults, the regulator said.

Dr. Alicja Mortensen, head of the EFSA's Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Foods, commented that this research represents one of the most comprehensive assessments of the health risks associated with aspartame conducted so far. It is a step towards re-establishing consumer confidence in the regulation of food additives and the European Union's food safety system, she added.