EFSA Releases Positive Opinion about the Safety of High Purity Stevia Extract

San Antonio TXStevia is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant, which has been used to sweeten beverages and as medicine by South American natives for centuries. While the word “stevia” refers to the entire plant, only some of the components of the stevia leaf are sweet. These sweet components are called steviol glycosides.

 The Global Stevia Institute (GSI) states that only the high purity leaf extract form of stevia – containing the steviol glycosides – meets global safety standards when it comes to approved use. This means that the crude extract form is not approved for use in foods and beverages, though it may be sold in some countries as a dietary supplement. The safety of high purity stevialeaf extract has been rigorously established by more than 200 studies that have researched stevia’s relationship to a variety of health issues. Several major global regulatory organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additive (JECFA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), have determined high purity stevia leaf extract to be safe for consumption by children, adults and special populations.

The Calories Council Control website published that the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Scientific Panel on additives has established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 4 mg/kg of body weight/day for stevia extracts or steviol glycosides, clearing the way for broader approvals of the stevia extract as a sweetener in the European Union, since it is currently approved there only as a dietary supplement, but not yet for use as a sweetener.

The EFSA-recommended ADI for stevia extract or steviol glycosides, is consistent with the level adopted earlier by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA).

Before rendering its opinion, EFSA’s Panel conducted a thorough assessment of both animal and human studies involving steviol glycosides and concluded, “The results of toxicological testing indicated that steviol glycosides are not genotoxic, carcinogenic, nor associated with any reproductive/developmental toxicity.”

In the USA, steviol glycosides are used as general purpose sweeteners in foods and beverages as well as in tabletop sweeteners.

Sources:

  • Calorie Council Control:
  • Sweet News for Stevia: EFSA Releases Positive Opinion
  • http://caloriecontrol.org/sweet-news-for-stevia/
  • Global Stevia Institute Safety & Food POlicy
  • http://globalsteviainstitute.com/health-professionals/safety-food-policy/

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SVETIA® Calorie – Free Sweetener is made with cane sugar and stevia extract. One packet of SVETIA® contains only one gram of carbohydrates. People with diabetes are advised to check with their registered dietitian or physician.

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