FDA Approves New High-Intensity Sweetener Advantame
April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that a new food additive, Advantame, has been approved. Advantame, the sixth high-intensity sweetener approved by the FDA, has been rated as safe for use as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer in food, except meat and poultry. Before being marketed in the US, all new food additives must be approved by the FDA.
Advantame, which does not have a brand name yet, can be used in a wide variety of products, according to WebMD. These products include, but are not limited to, baked goods, soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, candies, frostings, frozen desserts, gelatins and puddings, jams and jellies, processed fruits and fruit juices, toppings and syrups.
A white, free-flowing powder that dissolves in water and remains stable at high temperatures, unlike aspartame, Advantame can be used as a tabletop sweetener as well.
The FDA’s Constituent Update notes that high-intensity sweeteners work well as sugar substitutes because they do not contribute calories, or only contribute a few calories, and they will not affect blood sugar levels.
“Sugar substitutes are called ‘high-intensity’ because small amounts pack a large punch when it comes to sweetness,” Captain Andrew Zajac, of the U.S. Public Health Service and director of the FDA’s division of petition review, explained in a statement.
Advantame will only need to be used in very low levels because of its intense sweetness. In fact, taste panel work has shown that in some beverages, the sweetener content can be lowered by as much as 30 percent with Advantame.
The maker of Advantame, Ajinomoto North America, Inc, submitted 37 animal and human feeding studies to gain the FDA approval. These studies were designed to identify possible side effects and toxins. After analyzing the findings, the FDA concluded that Advantame is safe for human consumption under the petitioned conditions of use.
Despite this, the FDA does warn that person’s with a genetic disorder known as phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid products with Advantame because it is chemically similar to aspartame (brand name Equal). People with PKU have difficulties metabolizing phenylalanine, a component of both aspartame and Advantame. The FDA has previously ruled that products containing aspartame are required to include label warnings for persons with PKU. The agency debated the same alerts for Advantame, but decided that because the new sweetener is so much sweeter and therefore will be used in much smaller amounts, no warning label was necessary.
“We are all very excited about Advantame. The clean sugar-like taste means that it blends very well with sugar and other caloric sweeteners, providing food and beverage companies with an alternative that has meaningful nutritional advantages,” said Brendan Naulty, Senior Vice President of Ajinomoto North America, Inc. “Using less caloric sweetener to deliver good-tasting foods and beverages is a real plus in today’s marketplace.”
Australia and New Zealand have already approved Advantame for human consumption, while approvals are still pending in the European Union and Japan.