Authors: Katalin Frecskáné Csáki, Mária Szerleticsné Túri, Andrea Zentai, László Mészáros, Renáta Prisztóka, Judit Sali, Mária Szeitzné Szabó
A study was performed by the Directorate of Risk Assessment of Food Safety of NÉBIH in order to determine how safe the consumption of aspartame is, based on domestic food consumption data, i.e. how close domestic aspartame intake is to the internationally accepted Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) value.
Aspartame exposition was estimated by NÉBIH-ÉKI using three methods. Average and high intake levels can be estimated using the so-called FAIM (Food Additives Intake Model) model Excel template that can be downloaded from the homepage of EFSA, by entering the limit values (allowed maximum usage levels) of the additive to be evaluated, and also based on food consumption data of member states, incorporated in the model and available in the EFSA database. The second method is with the help of a so-called FACET (Flavourings, Additives and Contact Materials Exposure Task) software operating on probabilistic principles, made available to us at the end of 2013 and containing 2003 Hungarian food consumption data available also in the EFSA database. And the third method for estimation of the aspartame intake of the Hungarian population was by using our own developed probabilistic method based on the latest, 2009 domestic food consumption data, taking into consideration the daily consumption data of 4992 individuals.
Based on the data it can be concluded that the aspartame exposition of the Hungarian population coming from foods is not cause for a health concern. According to the FAIM model, the high intake is 20% of the ADI for adults and 13.8% for the elderly. The average intake is lower than this, 5.8% of the ADI for adults and 4.8% for the elderly. Calculating with the FACET model, aspartame intake of the average (adult and elderly) consumer is 4.4% of the ADI, while the high intake (P95) is 14% of the ADI. The average intake calculated with the own probabilistic method, using 2009 food consumption data, is 3.6% of the ADI, while the high intake is 14.4% of the ADI. The estimation performed at level two of the multistage tiered approach used for the estimation of the dietary intake of additives is conservative (it assumes a worst-case scenario), the estimated exposition obtained as the result of a further refinement (third stage) would be even lower. The paper also includes the comparison of the different methods.
Aspartame intake with foods and beverages is not a cause for concern for the average Hungarian consumer in case of the usual diet. However, it is worth noting that the exposition of children, in case of consumption of large quantities of aspartame-sweetened beverages and fruit yogurts, may reach the ADI value.
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