The European Commission has said that the EU's food safety watchdog will report on its latest review of aspartame within a year.

Aspartame is being prioritised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as part of the Commission's commitment to review the safety of all addivitives used in food and food ingredients by 2020. Despite having only completed a review of the latest scientific evidence on aspartame in February, EFSA is due to make a further report on the sweetener by September 2012, the Commission said this week.

"New scientific information" means that aspartame has jumped the queue for re-evaluation, the Commission said.

Aspartame is used widely in low-calorie drinks and food and has been dogged by health concerns since its emergence the 1980s. However, food and drink firms have vehemently denied that the sweetener poses a health risk to consumers and several studies by regulatory authorities around the world have concluded that it is safe. 

News that EFSA would re-evaluate aspartame emerged in May this year. just-food understands that concerns among members of the European Parliament have been prominent in kick-starting a fresh review. "When we evaluated scientific studies on aspartame recently, we didn't see anything glaring that would lead us to believe people should change their daily intake," an EFSA spokesperson told just-food at the time.