A New Scientific Opinion on Steviol Glycosides by the The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

San Antonio TX. According to the Global Stevia Institute (GSI), the scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a new scientific opinion on steviol glycosides, which concludes favorably on the inclusion of rebaudioside M as part of the steviol glycoside specification, for stevia leaf extracts from the Steviarebaudiana Bertoni plant.

Steviol glycosides are the compounds of the stevia plant that provide its high intensity sweetness and are 200 – 350 times sweeter than sugar. Steviol glycosides are being used in a variety of food and beverage products across the world.

The current specification stipulates that the steviol glycoside preparations from the plant should have no less than 95% of 10 specific steviol glycosides namely: stevioside; rebaudioside A, B, C, D, E, and F; steviolbioside; rubusoside and dulcoside. This specification also includes that at least 75% of the mixture must be stevioside and/or rebaudioside A.

On December 8, 2015, the EFSA Journal published that the European Commission had requested that rebaudioside M be added to the list of steviol glycosides as an authorized component of the mixture and that the minimum amount of 75% of stevioside and/or rebaudioside A be deleted.

According to the EFSA Journal, the Panel noted that after intestinal degradation, both stevioside and rebaudioside A convert into steviol. A large amount of steviol is absorbed and the rest excreted in the faeces. In the liver, the absorbed steviol undergoes conjugation with glucuronic acid to form steviol glucuronide, which is excreted primarily via the urine. Further to this, the Panel considered that the toxicological studies performed with stevioside and rebaudioside Awere relevant for assessing the safety of any steviol glycoside degraded in the intestine. It was therefore concluded that rebaudioside D and M could be considered as alternatives to rebaudioside A with no safety concern. It was also concluded that considering that all steviol glycosides are converted to steviol and given that there was no evidence of absorption for intact glycosides, the total amount of the 11 steviol glycosides could be greater than 95 percent, with no safety concern either. Therefore, the current requirement that 75 percent of the composition be stevioside and/or rebaudioside A will no longer be necessary.

The GSI says that when this new change is authorized, the specification will allow rebaudioside M to be part of the 95 percent high purity stevia extract from leaf, making it 11 allowed steviol glycosides.

The GSI considers that “this new development for rebaudioside M extracted from the stevialeaf is exciting as it makes the possibility for a broader portfolio of great tasting stevia leaf extracts possible when approved, thus, expanding the opportunity for stevia even more.”

Sources: EFSA Journal, http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4316

The Global Stevia Institue http://globalsteviainstitute.com/

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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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