Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stevia sweetener gets FDA salute

Two agency response letters posted on the FDA site, confirmed to Cargill, Incorporated and Whole Earth Sweetener Company LLC that Rebaudioside A (a sweetener derived from the Stevia leaf) is, in fact, Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), thus giving the companies the green light for use in the US food supply. According to FoodProcessing: A Home Page for the Food and Beverage Industry, "Rebaudioside A's natural sweetening capacity makes it ideal for the food and beverage industries."

According to Food Navigator USA, “within hours Coca-Cola and PepsiCo announced that their first drinks sweetened with Reb A will be hitting US shop shelves shortly. Coca-Cola partnered with Cargill to develop their rebiana brand called Truvia, and PepsiCo, along with Whole Earth Sweetener Company (a subsidiary of Merisant Company) and PureCircle, have their own product under the PureVia brand."

Many are still critical of the industry sponsored research and FDA's seemingly hastily 'midnight' decision, including Marion Nestle at What to Eat, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and
Based on the information provided by Cargill (Whole Earth), as well as other information available to FDA, the agency has no questions at this time regarding Cargill’s(Whole Earth) conclusion that rebaudioside A purified from S. rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni is GRAS under the intended conditions of use. The agency has not, however, made its own determination regarding the GRAS status of the subject use of rebaudioside A purified from S. rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni. As always, it is the continuing responsibility of Cargill(Whole Earth) to ensure that food ingredients that the firm markets are safe, and are otherwise in compliance with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.

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