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FDA lifts ban on ‘magic sugar’

MANILA, Philippines - Thirteen years after imposing a ban on sodium cyclamate, an artificial sweetener better known as “magic sugar,” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted it after several international reviews showed that there have been “no safety concerns” among the product’s consumers worldwide.

In Advisory 2013-009, the FDA allowed the use of “magic sugar” and, in effect, revoked Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (its former name) Advisory 2000-05, which prohibits the importation, distribution and sale of the product.

FDA director Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, however, said that “all importers, traders, and distributors are ordered to apply for market authorization” from the FDA to ensure proper labeling and safe use of the product.”

Before the ban was lifted, there were reports of street vendors selling beverages sweetened with magic sugar smuggled into the country.

The FDA banned sodium cyclamate in 2000 because it was found to cause bladder tumors in laboratory rates. The sweetener is approved for use in more than 100 countries, including Canada, Australia and parts of Europe.

Several reviews made by World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization “showed that in these countries, there have been no safety concerns among its millions of consumers. These findings, among others, led to the adoption of cyclamate as a food additive by the Codex Alimentarius committee,” the FDA advisory read.

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Go said the maximum level of sodium cyclamate in food is set in the Codex’s general standard for food additives. The Codex sets international standards for food, food production and food safety.

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