"Other Sweetener Updates"
Sucralose Approved for Use in Ireland
Sucralose is being used in several new products in the U.S.
including a new, frozen 7-Eleven diet slurpee as well as several
new sugar-free sodas. Additionally, the Food Safety Authority of
Ireland announced that the marketing and use of sucralose has
been given temporary approval, beginning in 2003. This
approval will be in effect for the next two years; sucralose can be
used in various food products and as a tabletop sweetener. The
Scientific Committee on Food of the European Union supported
the temporary approval of Ireland's Food Safety Authority. Once
sucralose becomes an "approved" sweetener by the European
Union and is included in the Annex of the European Union
Directive on sweeteners (hopefully by year end), the temporary
approval in Ireland will no longer be necessary.
Acesulfame K Used in a Variety of Foods and Beverages
Acesulfame Potassium is being used in a number of new prod-
ucts. In the first eight months of 2003, there were 21 new bev-
erage launches with Acesulfame K, 21 new gum launches and
31 other launches. Acesulfame K is used in several diet sodas
and juice drinks as well as various gums and candy. It is
expected to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as
a general purpose sweetener by the end of 2003. If approved as
a general purpose sweetener, Acesulfame K will be available for
use in any products where standards of identity do not preclude
its use. Some new product categories for Acesulfame K would
be: breakfast cereal, jams and jellies, sauces, soups, and canned
fruits and vegetables.
Saccharin: Further Confirmation of Safety
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
(OHEEA) has announced the removal of sodium saccharin from
the List of Chemicals as Known to the State of California to Cause
Cancer, effective January 17, 2003. Saccharin's previous listing
in the report was based on very controversial, high dose rat
experiments performed in the 1970's. The animals were fed the
human equivalent of hundreds of cans of diet soft drinks per
day over their lifetime. The removal from the California list
comes after the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released the
9th edition of its Report on Carcinogens and announced that
saccharin had been delisted from its list of suspected carcino-
gens report. Additionally, saccharin and products containing
saccharin are no longer required to carry a warning label, based
on Congressional actions in 2000.
The Obesity Crisis -- Who's to Blame?
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complex. Taking away certain foods and beverages offers a simplified solu-
tion to a complex problem and students are left without the knowledge of
how to make informed, educated decisions concerning their nutritional
needs. It's important for children to learn the relationship between the
choices they make regarding foods and beverages as well as physical activity.
It's also important to keep in mind that the ever-increasing variety of food
choices includes water, reduced/low-calorie products and other "better-for-
Some schools are undertaking other efforts, which involve parents, to
help curb the rising tide of obesity. Schools are working to make parents
more aware of their child's possible risk for overweight and obesity. For
example, Arkansas is introducing a program that will identify severely
overweight children and teens and emphasize that lifestyle changes may
Should Weight Loss Be Mandated by the Government?
Legislators are also throwing their hats in the obesity ring. Many bills
have been brought before the House and Senate. For example, Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) have
proposed a bill that would use federal funds to help educate health profes-
sionals about obesity, encourage more programs promoting healthy eating
and physical fitness on the local level and increase funds for federal
research regarding eating problems. Additional bills propose to make
changes to school lunches, while other legislators are looking to increase
federal money for nutrition education. The Senate recently approved
almost $945 million (an increase of $34 million) to help promote good
nutrition and healthier lifestyles.
Scientists are also looking for ways to solve the obesity crisis. Recently,
a new research institute, The Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and
Associated Disorders, was founded at the Oregon Health & Science
University to help understand, treat and prevent obesity. The new Center
will use the expertise of 47 Portland-area scientists and doctors who are
studying the reasons for weight gain and loss as well as which drugs, diets
and government policies may (if at all) be helpful in aiding people "fight
the battle of the bulge."
Eat, Drink and Be ... Overweight?
Although consumers can choose
from a wide variety when it comes to
foods and beverages, many food and
beverage companies along with fast
food restaurants have come under fire.
Recently, a California lawyer announced
that he had filed a suit against Kraft,
because of the trans fat found in their
Oreo cookies. He later withdrew the
suit, stating that he only wanted to
bring media attention to the company
in an effort to force them to produce
products with less trans fat. Several
lawsuits have also been brought against
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