PepsiCo Stands Firm On Product Portfolio Despite Aspartame’s Possible Carcinogenic Status
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PepsiCo Stands Firm On Product Portfolio Despite Aspartame’s Possible Carcinogenic Status

PepsiCo Stands Firm on Product Portfolio Despite Aspartame's Possible Carcinogenic Status

PepsiCo does not intend to change its product portfolio following a report that artificial sweetener aspartame was set to be declared a possible carcinogen, Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston told Reuters on Thursday.

Aspartame will be listed as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” on July 14 for the first time by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer research arm, Reuters reported in June.

The ingredient is one of the world’s most widely used artificial sweeteners, found in products ranging from Coca-Cola’s Diet Coke to Mars’ Extra sugar-free chewing gum.

“We don’t have any plans to change the product portfolio relative to where we are right now with aspartame,” Johnston said.

Aspartame, discovered in 1965 by American chemist James Schlatter, is about 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar.

Johnston noted there had been over a 100 studies on aspartame, which had concluded it is safe as an ingredient.

“By far the weight of the scientific evidence suggests that aspartame is safe as an ingredient, and obviously has the benefit of being zero calories,” he added.

PepsiCo was one of the companies that used the sweetener in its U.S. diet sodas but removed it in 2015. The company brought it back a year later but again removed the ingredient in 2020.

Johnston said: “It is probably in a few products, but it’s not a huge part.”

The beverage giant, which raised its annual revenue and profit forecasts earlier on Thursday, said it could easily shift to using other kinds of sweeteners if the need ever arises.

“The only thing to keep in mind is aspartame is one sweetener. There are lots of different sweeteners we use and candidly it’s relatively easy for us to shift sweeteners if it became something that was important to do,” Johnston added.


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