U.S. flag An official website of the United States government
  1. Home
  2. Food
  3. Food Ingredients & Packaging
  4. Food Additives & Petitions
  5. Timeline of Selected FDA Activities and Significant Events Addressing Aspartame
  1. Food Additives & Petitions

Timeline of Selected FDA Activities and Significant Events Addressing Aspartame

The FDA first approved aspartame as a sweetener in 1974 and scientific evidence has continued to support the agency’s conclusion that aspartame is safe for the general population when made under good manufacturing practices and used under the approved conditions of use. The FDA-established acceptable daily intake (ADI), or the amount of aspartame that is considered safe to consume each day over the course of a person’s lifetime, continues to be protective of public health. However, people with difficulty metabolizing phenylalanine because of a rare genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid or restrict aspartame. Consumers can identify whether a product has aspartame by looking for it by name in the ingredient list on the product label, which must include a statement to inform people with PKU that the product contains phenylalanine.

The safety of a food additive must be supported by science that demonstrates its use meets the FDA’s safety standard. Aspartame is one of the most studied food additives in the human food supply. To determine the safety of aspartame, the FDA has reviewed more than 100 studies designed to identify possible toxic effects, including studies that assess effects on the reproductive and nervous systems, carcinogenicity, and metabolism. FDA scientists reassessed the science on the exposure and safety of aspartame in food each time the agency filed a food additive petition, received relevant information from other regulatory agencies and research institutions that have evaluated aspartame, and responded to objections that were raised related to the approved uses of aspartame. Since the last approved use in 1996, the FDA has continued monitoring the scientific literature for new information on aspartame. We stay abreast of published literature and the current level of consumer exposure and participate in international scientific and standard-setting activities related to food ingredient safety.

This timeline provides chronological information about FDA activities and significant events related to the review of aspartame.

Related Information:

Back to Top