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Intense Sweeteners

​(April 2023)

Intense sweeteners are many times sweeter than sugar which means they can be used in much smaller amounts. They are classed as food additives and added to foods to replace sugar to provide low or lower energy/kilojoule foods or foods that are reduced in sugar or sugar-free.

Some intense sweeteners occur naturally in some plants and can be extracted to produce a highly concentrated extract.  Examples are steviol glycosides extracted from the South American plant Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (stevia) and monk fruit extract (also called luo han guo extract) which is derived from the fruit of a perennial vine native to southern China.

FSANZ, together with the Ministry for Primary Industries in New Zealand recently conducted a review of all the intense sweeteners permitted for use in the Food Standards Code. A range of different sources of evidence were included such as sweetener use information and dietary exposure assessments. Steviol glycosides were reviewed in detail which included an analytical survey and risk assessment. No public health and safety issues were identified as a result of the review. For further information, see the full report below.

How are intense sweeteners assessed for safety?

We conduct a thorough safety assessment of all food additives, including intense sweeteners, before they are approved for use in food. We ensure that:

  • they are safe at the levels being proposed, and

  • there is a technological purpose for their use.

Find out how we ensure the safety of food additives.

Watch our video on how we assess risk from chemicals in food.  

More information


Food additives

Chemicals in food video

Additive labelling



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