This is the oldest sugar substitute. It was discovered
in 1879 and used during the two World Wars to compensate for the shortage
The first attempt to ban it came in 1911 when it was branded an ‘adulterant’
and not to be used in foods. All restrictions were dropped when World
War 1 began.
Studies carried out during 1972 and 1973 raised concerns when rats fed
saccharin developed bladder cancer, these results were dismissed as
‘impurities in the test conditions’. In 1977 a Canadian
study confirmed the original results and the FDA proposed banning saccharine
as a sugar substitute for home use. A public outcry followed (fuelled
by the media) and the FDA compromised the labelling any products containing
saccharine as ‘maybe hazardous to your health’. These conditions
have just been extended until 2002, (USA only). The US government National
Toxicology Program has kept saccharine on its list of ‘anticipated
carcinogens’. The FDA has promoted that consumption in moderation
is the key to a lower risk of cancer.