• Photo for Sweet study finds popular sugar substitute safe

Sweet study finds popular sugar substitute safe

Sweet relief for users of Equal and other products artificially sweetened with aspartame. An independent panel of scientists working for the European Food Safety Authority found that aspartame does not increase the risk of cancer.

The European study follows research on over 500,000 aspartame users by U.S. federal scientists, which also found no link between the sweetner and cancer.

The studies serve to quell years of raging debate on the safety of aspartame.

"There is no reason … to undertake any further extensive review of the safety of aspartame," Iona Pratt, a toxicologist who headed the European panel, told the Associated Press.

According to Pratt, the European limit on daily consumption of 18 milligrams per pound of body weight is well within safety limits. For an average person that works out to 80 packets of sweetner a day, Pratt told the AP.

For 25 years, companies have been using aspartame to sweeten products from soda to medicine.