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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evaluation of reactions to food additives: the aspartame experience.

Despite the widespread use of chemical food additives, few criteria exist to evaluate consumer reports of adverse reactions. We analyzed 231 consumer complaints associated with the food additive aspartame. We developed a methodologic approach to evaluate all complaints by adapting general criteria used to investigate adverse reactions to medications. Complaints were ranked according to the effects of cessation and rechallenge. Using this method, we found no clear symptom complex that suggests a widespread public health hazard associated with aspartame use; however, we identified some case reports in which the symptoms may be attributable to aspartame in commonly-consumed amounts. The systematic application of pre-defined review criteria, such as those described here, to monitor consumer complaints related to food additives will help identify products that warrant more focused clinical studies.[1]


  1. Evaluation of reactions to food additives: the aspartame experience. Bradstock, M.K., Serdula, M.K., Marks, J.S., Barnard, R.J., Crane, N.T., Remington, P.L., Trowbridge, F.L. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (1986) [Pubmed]
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