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More and Better Review Needed to Resolve Sucralose Cancer Concerns

Statement of CSPI Senior Scientist Lisa Lefferts

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The best available long-term evidence on sucralose indicates that sucralose causes cancer in laboratory animals.  For that reason, the Center for Science in the Public Interest will continue to recommend that consumers avoid sucralose.

The safety of sucralose was first brought into question by the biggest—and only independent—long-term feeding study in mice.  The peer-reviewed study from the Ramazzini Institute, a highly respected Italian laboratory, found a high rate of leukemias and other blood cancers.  Male mice consuming sucralose had over six times as many leukemias as untreated control animals. 

The European Food Safety Agency dismissed concerns about sucralose’s carcinogenicity without even looking at the Ramazzini Institute’s pathology slides, commissioning independent expert pathologists to do so, requiring additional studies, or suggesting precautions for consumers.  By not taking the cancer concerns more seriously, it has failed consumers. 

The U.S. National Toxicology Program, the leading federal agency for evaluating agents of public health concern, should convene a committee of independent experts to evaluate more carefully the evidence on sucralose’s carcinogenicity.  I hope that manufacturers of sucralose also would encourage such a review.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).