U.S. health officials said Friday they approved a new sweetener, neotame, that is about 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.

The Food and Drug Administration said neotame, a water soluble, white crystalline powder, can be used as a tabletop sweetener as well as in cooking and food processing.

The agency approved neotame for use in a variety of food products including baked goods, soft drinks, chewing gum, jams and jellies and processed fruits and fruit juices.