European Parliament - Norbert Erdős’s Questions & Answer: Scientific grounds for restricting the use of xylitol as a sweetener

6 July 2016 - Norbert Erdős – [E-005525-16] - Subject: Scientific grounds for restricting the use of xylitol as a sweetener:

With reference to the Commission's answer to my Question E-003959/2016 [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2016-003959&language=EN], I would like to put the following questions to the Commission:

1. What is the scientific reason, particularly in relation to human health, why the European Union strictly restricts the use of xylitol as a sweetener?

2. To whom within the Commission (name, address, telephone number, e-mail address) may a business operating within the EU turn for information if it wishes to use xylitol as a sweetener in the manufacture of food?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission (12 August 2016):

«The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its response to written question E-003959/2016[1] on the subject of the use of xylitol as both an additive and a sweetener.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on food additives[2] a food additive may be used as a sweetener only if, in addition to serving one or more of the purposes set out in Article 6(2), it serves one or more of the purposes set out in Article 7 "Specific conditions for sweeteners".

Xylitol is permitted as a sweetener in a variety of foods not including beverages. No upper limit is specified.

Xylitol was evaluated by the Scientific Committee for Food[3] which considered its use acceptable provided limitations due to its laxative action were kept in mind. Excessive ingestion of polyol-based sweeteners may cause such undesirable effects; therefore ingestion of high amounts of this compound should be taken into account when considering its appropriate levels of use, alone or in combination with other polyols.

All information on food additives, including the common authorisation procedure in the EU and the practical guidance for applicants is available online[4], including the contact details of the service and person to contact for further information.».

[1] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/en/parliamentary-questions.html
[2] Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on food additives
[3]     Reports from the Scientific Committee for Food (16th series). Opinion expressed 1984. Food science and techniques, 1985.
[4]     http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/food_improvement_agents/additives/index_en.htm