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Volume 205: debated on Friday 13 March 1992

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what representations he has made to the EC to ensure that aspartame is not eliminated in the new European directive on additives;(2) what representations he has received with regard to the use of high-intensity sweeteners used as flavour enhancers in sugar sweetened chewing gum; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he will make representations to the European Commission to ensure that high-intensity sweeteners are not withdrawn until a suitable alternative which permits the manufacture of chewing gum that does not stick to dentures has been found;(4) what estimate he has made of the effect on sales of sugar chewing gum of the prohibition of high-intensity sweeteners and of the impact on employment opportunities.

The proposals currently under discussion in Brussels would permit continuation of the existing use of intense sweeteners specified by the hon. Friend. The question of a ban or of the need for representations does not, therefore, arise. My officials have, however, discussed with representatives of the industry concerned how their existing position might best be maintained should the present proposals be changed.