As we aim to eat less sugar, many of us are turning more and more to alternative sweeteners.
Intense sweeteners such as acesulfame-K (E950), aspartame (E951) and saccharin (E954) are very low in calories and are safer for teeth.
Bulk sweeteners, such as sorbitol (E420), can be used to replace sugar in products.
As with all additives, sweeteners are thoroughly assessed for safety before they are permitted for use, and they are only then permitted to be used in a limited range of products.
The Food Standards Agency carries out work on sweeteners to ensure that their presence in food does not compromise food safety.
The use of sweeteners in food is controlled in Great Britain by the Sweeteners in Foods Regulations 1995 (SI 1995 No.3123) as amended by SI 1996 No. 1477, SI 1997 No. 814, SI 1999 No. 982, SI 2001 No. 2294 and SI 2002 No. 379. Similar regulations are in force in Northern Ireland.
Please contact the Stationery Office for copies of these regulations. From 2000 separate amending regulations have been made in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
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