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Letter: we still believe that chewing gum is safe

Martin Turton

19th January, 2010

The Food and Drink Federation responds to Pat Thomas' article, 'Behind the Label: chewing gum'

Dear Editor,

Regarding your article entitled ‘Behind the label: Chewing Gum’, (12 January 2010), I would strongly refute the allegations claiming that chewing gum is 'potentially toxic, bad for the environment and bad for us'. This article is likely to have given unnecessary cause for concern to those who chew gum and enjoy the many benefits that it provides.

Chewing gum sold in the UK complies with the highest health and purity standards set forth by regulators, the Food Standards Agency and European Food Safety Authority and it has been demonstrated to be safe for the enjoyment of consumers. Mr Thomas’s article recites unsubstantiated claims about the safety of various substances, which have either been debunked by objective, scientific studies or have never been recognised by regulators, whose ultimate responsibility is to promote and uphold food safety.

Chewing gum is a low-calorie confection that is endorsed by The FDI World Dental Federation which advocates the oral health benefits of chewing sugar-free gum, as an effective way to freshen breath and maintain good dental health. Emerging science also suggests other benefits from chewing gum in the areas of weight management; focus; alertness and concentration; and stress relief.

Furthermore, chewing gum manufacturers are investing significantly in research and development, with a focus on the creation of a gum base that is more degradable. Collectively and individually, they also direct significant resources to combating the issue of gum litter by promoting personal responsibility for the proper disposal of used gum.

The Ecologist has an obligation to ensure that its content is rational, balanced and well-researched and as a result it was disappointing to see that this standard was not maintained in this instance.

Martin Turton

Manager of BCCC (Biscuits, Cakes, Chocolate and Confectionery) sector group
Food and Drink Federation


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