Recognise artificial sweeteners as an allergen

Recognise artificial sweeteners as an allergen

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Claire Wilkins started this petition to food standards agency

Problem
There is an increase in the number of foods and drinks that include artificial sweeteners in their ingredients. A large number of people are intolerant or allergic to these ingredients. When purchasing food and drink in outlets, often there is little knowledge about which products have sweeteners in them and they only have allergen lists, which don’t include sweeteners, and not ingredient lists.

Solution
Artificial sweeteners need to be a required identified allergen.

Personal story
I discovered I have an intolerance to artificial sweeteners (even those derived from ‘natural sources’, like stevia) a few years ago when I was performing elimination diets to try and find triggers for my migraines and chronic daily headaches. Medication had stopped working and I was unable to continue working as I couldn’t be relied upon and the stress of calling in sick was just making everything worse. I found that consuming artificial sweeteners makes me ill. Just a small amount consumed inadvertently leaves me with debilitating migraines for weeks.

I also have a number of friends who are also allergic or intolerant to sweeteners. They cause them migraines and trigger autoimmune disease flare ups.

With the introduction of the sugar tax this year (2018), this has seen a rush of manufacturers changing their recipes to substitute sugar for artificial sweeteners and there is a significantly reduced choice in sweetener free drinks. Governement policy seems to be encouraging sugar to be reduced in other areas as well and changes are already being seen across cereals and other products where sugar is being switched for sweeteners.

I have no issue with reducing sugar in items: however I do have an issue with that sugar being replaced by artificial sweeteners. We don’t know the long term effects of these substances on our bodies but I have heard many anecdotes about how eliminating them has improved people’s health. Simply put, for a large proportion of people, artificial sweeteners are not healthy for them and it is hard to identify if products have them in. By getting retailers and food outlets to identify sweeteners as an allergen, it would assist many people in making personally healthy choices.


Anecdotes:

I used to drink Tango Ice Blasts at the cinema. No sweeteners & no caffeine. Earlier in the year, I was made aware the recipe was changing but staff at the cinema said they weren’t sure when. They were unable to provide me with any ingredients list and their allergen list doesn’t include sweeteners. I requested information via their customer services. I was provided with allergen and nutritional information and when I explained that didn’t work, directed to a website that I needed to be a wholesale customer of to get information. Months down the line, I still haven’t had an answer.

I went to a coffee shop and was intrigued by a new drink. When I asked, it was made from a premixed based and topped up with water. The bottle had no ingredients on it and, as with other food outlets, they only have allergen information and not ingredients.


It gets very frustrating to not be able to make informed choices. Sweeteners need to be included as an allergen.  Please sign the petition to make the inclusion of sweeteners in products more transparent. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!