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.