Acesulfame K – E950

  • What is Acesulfame K- E950?

The additive E950, Acesulfame K, is a high-intensity synthetic sweetener.

Sweeteners or sugar substitutes have been used since ancient times to satisfy humans’ inherent craving for sweetness. Depending on the calorie content they bring to foods, sweeteners can be classified into 3 categories:

Nutritive sweeteners that are generally natural sugars or their derivatives.

Macronutrient sugar substitutes – a category of sweeteners with low-calorie content but with functional properties similar to sugar. This category includes polyols obtained by reducing mono and oligosaccharides, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc.

Non-nutritive sweeteners with high sweetness power, compounds that impart a sweet taste at much lower concentrations than those required by sucrose, and either are not metabolized in the body or do not contribute to the energy intake of foods and beverages. Non-nutritive sweeteners can be further classified into two categories: natural products – thaumatin, glycyrrhizin, stevioside, miraculin, phlodalucin, etc., or synthetic or semi-synthetic products – saccharin, cyclamates, aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose, etc.

The chemical formula of Acesulfame K is: C4H4N04KS and its molecular weight (M) is 201,24.

Acesulfame K can also be found under the following names: potassium acesulfame, acesulfame, the potassium salt of 3,4-dihydro-6-methyl-1,2,3-oxathiazin-4-one 2,2-dioxide.

Its chemical name is potassium salt of 6-methyl-1,2,3oxathiazin-4(3H)-one 2,2-dioxide.

  • How is Acesulfame K – E950 obtained?

Acesulfame K was accidentally discovered in 1967 during investigations into oxathiazine dioxides.

Acesulfame K is industrially obtained from the tert-butyl ester of acetoacetic acid by treating it with fluorosulfonylisocyanate. The reaction yields an intermediate compound, which upon heating decomposes into N-fluorosulfonylacetamide of acetoacetic acid, isobutene, and carbon dioxide. Acesulfame K is obtained by the cyclization of N-fluorosulfonylacetamide of acetoacetic acid in the presence of potassium hydroxide.

A more modern synthesis process of acesulfame K involves using diacetene and an amidosulfonic acid as raw materials.

  • Which foods contain the food additive E950?

Acesulfame K or E950 can be found in the following products and foods:

  • desserts and similar products such as flavored water-based desserts, milk-based preparations, and derivatives;
  • sweets, bakery products, window, bread-based desserts, fruit and vegetable-based desserts, with or without added sugar;
  • egg-based desserts, with or without added sugar;
  • cereal-based desserts;
  • at-based desserts, with or without added sugar;
  • milk-based beverages and derived products or fruit juice-based beverages with reduced energy value or without added sugar;
  • breakfast cereals;
  • ready-to-eat “snacks”, based on starch or glazed nuts and peanuts, dried, containing certain flavors;
  • confectionery products without added sugar;
  • confectionery products based on cocoa or dried fruits, with reduced energy value or without added sugar;
  • confectionery products based on starch or in spreadable pastes based on cocoa, milk, dried fruits, or fats;
  • sugar-free chewing gum, breath freshening drops;
  • cider, pear spirit, beer, spirits;
  • non-alcoholic beverages, for example in flavored water-based beverages, with reduced energy value or without added sugar;
  • preserved fruits with reduced energy value or without added sugar;
  • jams, jellies, and low-energy marmalades, preserves of sweet-sour fruits and vegetables;
  • soft and hard candy;
  • fish preserves and semi-preserves, in fish marinades, crustaceans and mollusks, in sauces, mustard, vinegar;
  • soups and broths;
  • coffee, coffee substitutes, tea, herbal infusions.
  • Where else can Acesulfame K – E950 be found?

Acesulfame K can also be found in dietary supplements based on vitamins and/or mineral elements in syrup or chewable form, in complete dietary preparations or nutritional supplements used under medical supervision.

Acesulfame K is also used in pharmaceutical products or oral hygiene products (toothpaste, mouthwash) because it masks the bitter or unpleasant taste of some ingredients in these products.

  • Are there any side effects from consuming the food additive E950?

Acesulfame K has the advantage of being rapidly eliminated from the body after ingestion and absorption. Studies have also shown that this additive is excreted without undergoing any modification.

In the specialized scientific literature, no serious health problems associated with the consumption of acesulfame K have been reported in humans.

  • Care sunt caracteristicile acesulfamului K- E950?

Acesulfame K is presented as a crystalline solid compound or as a crystalline powder of white color.

It has a pronounced sweet taste, being 200 times sweeter than sucrose. It is a non-hygroscopic substance, and its melting point is 225°C.

Acesulfame K is very soluble in water but less soluble in ethanol, methanol, or acetone.

The pH of aqueous solutions is approximately 7.

The additive has high stability in aqueous solutions for pH ranges between 3 and 7, both in darkness and light.

Acesulfame K exhibits stability under heating, baking, or UHT treatment. This stability increases its possibilities of use compared to other artificial sweeteners.

Upon drying the product at a temperature of 105°C for two hours, the permissible losses are 1%.

According to the Codex Alimentarius, the incorporation dose in foods varies between 110 and 5000 mg/kg. The lowest dose can be added in soups and broths, 110 mg/kg, while the maximum dose can be added in chewing gum.

Acesulfame K is added in doses of 350mg/kg in foods with added sugar and in doses ranging from 500 to 2500 mg/kg in foods without added sugar.

  • Why is the use of Acesulfame K necessary?

Acesulfame K is used in the food industry as a dietary sweetener as well as for technological reasons. It is a non-caloric sweetener used for the diet of diabetic patients or in low-calorie diets.

Acesulfame K has a wide range of uses, as it presents high technological and microbiological stability, does not caramelize, has very low hygroscopicity, and in certain situations, it exhibits the property of flavor enhancer.


An advantage of this additive is that it is stable over time, in darkness and light. At pH = 7.5 in aqueous solutions, it resists without decomposing for a long time.


It has the advantage of not degrading even during the pasteurization of acidic food products. Another advantage of using this additive is that it is not metabolized by intestinal flora or bacteria found in food products.


The necessity of using acesulfame K is also due to the fact that its sweet taste is similar to that of sucrose at low concentrations and is rapidly established.


Acesulfame K has a synergistic effect with other sweeteners, which is why it is used in combination with aspartame or sodium cyclamate.


  • What are food additives?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), substances added to food to maintain or improve safety, freshness, taste, texture, or appearance of food are known as food additives. For centuries, food additives have been used for food preservation, such as salt (in meat, bacon, or dried fish), sugar (in jam), or sulfur dioxide (in wine)

Over time, numerous food additives have been developed to meet the needs of food production, as manufacturing food on a large scale is much more complex than producing it at home on a small scale.

The introduction of additives into food is done with the aim of ensuring that processed foods remain safe and in good condition throughout their journey from factories or industrial kitchens to warehouses and stores and, ultimately, to consumers.

The use of food additives is justified only when their use has a technological necessity, does not mislead consumers, and serves a well-defined technological function such as preserving the nutritional quality of food or enhancing the stability of foods.


Food additives can be derived from plants, animals, or minerals or can be synthetic. They are intentionally added to food to fulfill certain technological purposes. There are thousands of food additives used, all designed to fulfill a specific task, usually to make foods more durable or more attractive.

  • Conclusions and Legislative Regulations E950

In 1984, the Scientific Committee of the EU for Food (SCF) established a daily intake of 9 mg/kg body weight for acesulfame K, based on a chronic study in dogs. In 2000, based on another SCF study, the ADI was re-established in the range of 0-9 mg/kg body weight/day.

In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration established an ADI of 15 mg/kg body weight.

Acesulfame K (E 950) is authorized for use as a sweetener in several categories of food with maximum levels permitted in accordance with Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008. When used as a bulk sweetener (in liquid, powder, or tablet form), it is authorized as quantum satis.

Its use in the category of dietary foods used for defined medical purposes in Directive 1999/21/EC is authorized up to the level of 450 mg/kg, except for dietary products.

The permitted doses in foods for infants and young children for defined medical purposes and special infant formulas are defined by Directive 1999/21/EC.


  1. Commission Regulation (Eu) 2018/1497 of 8 October 2018 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards food category 17 and the use of food additives in food supplements,
  2. General Standard For Food Additives Codex Stan 192-1995 Adopted in 1995. Revision 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019,
  3. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1129/2011 of 11 November 2011 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council by establishing a Union list of food additives


  1. Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council,

  1. Elena Oranescu, Aditivii alimentari-necesitate și risc, Editura SemnE, 2005, București, pages 313-314
  2. Raluca Stan, Aditivi alimentari produși naturali si de sinteză, 2007, Editura Printech, București,
  3. Safety of the proposed extension of use of acesulfame K (E 950) in foods for special medical purposes in young children, adopted: 10 March 2016, published: 5 April 2016 doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2016.4437,
  4. Kathleen Meister, Ruth Kava, Low-calorie Sweeteners and Other Sugar Substitutes: A Review of the Safety Issues Manfred Kroger, Vol. 5, 2006—Comprehensive Reviews In Food Science And Food Safety, pages 36-37.


Translation from Romanian by: Andra Nițu

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