Neotame, a new artificial sweetener from NutraSweet, has been given the go ahead by the US federal government. The sweetener is said to be 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved neotame as a general purpose sweetener for use in soft-drinks, baked goods, gum, processed fruits and numerous other food items. It can also be sprinkled on food as a direct substitute for sugar.
Neotame was not approved for use in meat and poultry, however.
The FDA reviewed 113 studies on humans and animals involving the sweetener before granting approval. "The safety studies were designed to identify possible toxic effects, such as cancer-causing, reproductive and neurological effects," the FDA said. "From its evaluation of the neotame database, the FDA was able to conclude that neotame is safe for human consumption."
NutraSweet also produces aspartame under its eponymous brand which is available in more than 100 countries. Neotame is about 20 to 30 times sweeter than aspartame, depending upon its application, the FDA said.