Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FZANZ) is considering increasing the upper limit for Acesulphame Potassium (Ace K) in chewing gum following an application from the global gum market leader.
Wrigley hopes to bring the maximum permitted level for the calorie-free intense sweetener in chewing gum to 5,000 mg/kg, in accordance with the Codex General Standard for Food Additives.
Currently Australia and New Zealand only permit Ace K in chewing gum up to 2,000 mg/kg.
Wrigley says it currently can’t sell gum in Australia and New Zealand that matches the sweet profile it uses in other markets like the US and Japan, where the max limit for Ace K is higher.
However, the EU’s limit for Ace K in gum currently stands at 2,000 mg/kg.
‘No public health and safety concerns’
FSANZ has already conducted a risk and technical assessment of Ace K. It found the level Wrigley is asking for would lead to a dietary exposure of 6-20% of the acceptable daily intake for Ace K, in the worst case scenario.
“Therefore, there are no public health and safety concerns associated with the proposed increase in the maximum permitted level (MPL) for Ace K in chewing gum,” said FSANZ in an executive summary.
The organization is now inviting submissions on the draft food regulatory measure up to October 1 2015.
EU and Chinese Ace K dumping
Germany-based Nutrinova Nutrition Specialties & Food Ingredients, the sole producer of Ace K in the EU last year lodged a complaint that Chinese companies were exporting Ace K to the EU at prices lower than the market value. In May this year, the EU introduced a regulation imposing anti-dumping duties for Ace K coming from China.
Advancing product innovations
FSANZ said: “The purpose is to enable The Wrigley Company to standardize formulations, thereby maintaining a standardized optimum flavor profile across the company’s products and operations and advance product innovations in promoting salivary and oral health benefits of chewing sugarfree gum as part of a good oral care routine.”
Wrigley uses Ace K as a sweetener in combination with other sweeteners for many of its sugarfree gum brands.
According to FSANZ, confectionery accounts for 7% and 10% of Ace K consumption in Australia and New Zealand respectively.