FDA allows local sale of ‘magic sugar’By Jocelyn R. Uy
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted the ban on the importation, distribution and sale of “magic sugar” in the country but will strictly require traders and distributors to secure an authorization from the agency and properly label their products.
In an advisory issued Monday, the FDA said it was allowing the use of “magic sugar” in the country, in effect revoking BFAD Advisory No. 2000-05 prohibiting the sale, importation and distribution of the product.
“All importers, traders and distributors are ordered to apply for market authorization from the FDA to ensure the proper labeling and safe use of the product,” read the advisory signed by FDA Acting Director Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go.
“Magic sugar” is an artificial noncaloric sweetening agent also known as sodium cyclamate or calcium cyclamate. It is marketed in several countries despite studies showing its use can cause urinary bladder tumors.
The FDA said its decision to allow “magic sugar” to be sold in the country was based on Codex Standard 192-1995 on Additives Permitted for Use under Specified Conditions in Certain Food Categories or Individual Food Items and Other Provisions of Codex General Standard for Food Additives.
It further stated that prior to the advisory, “magic sugar” was approved for use in more than 100 countries, including Canada, Australia and European nations.
“Several reviews made by the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization Joint Expert Committee on Additives and European Food Safety Authority showed that in these countries, there had been no safety concerns among its millions of consumers,” said the FDA.
Such findings, among others, led to the adoption of the cyclamate as food additive by the Codex Alimentarius Committee, which was established by the FAO and WHO in 1963 to develop uniform international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect consumers health and guarantee fair practices in international food trade.
“The maximum level of magic sugar in food is contained in the GSFA,” said the FDA, adding that all food processors must adhere to the Codex standard and to properly declare the use of artificial sweeteners in product labels.
The agency said FDA food inspectors shall strictly monitor the market to ensure that all “magic sugars” sold and used by food processors have been authorized by the FDA.