Australia, NZ approve stevia; Zerose gets a regulatory nod in China

The Australian and New Zealand food safety watchdog, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, has approved steviol glycodies, or stevia, as an ingredient for food and beverages. The petition for approval was submitted in January 2005 by the Plant Science Group at Central Queensland University and Australian Stevia Mills, makers of the Calfree brand of stevia-based sweeteners. Until now, Australia and New Zealand were among the last remaining countries other than the US and the EU holding back on approval for use in food and beverages.

In related news, Cargill has obtained regulatory approval for Zerose erythritol sweetener in China the non-caloric sugar alternative, with no restrictions on its applications. The company, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, said this meant Chinese food and beverage manufacturers could now benefit from the ?seemingly endless new product development and marketing possibilities" offered by Zerose.

?Zerose erythritol offers a solution to both health and indulgence," said Steven Tung, Cargill sales manager (Greater China). ?The ultimate winners will be food manufacturers who can combine zero calorie properties with excellent taste, satisfying mouthfeel and an appeal to the growing healthy-lifestyle Chinese market."

To support the launch, Cargill is staging technical seminars in major cities in China to give an overview of Zerose to food manufacturers and formulators. Applications for the ingredient include confectionery, beverages, jellies, tabletop sweeteners and oral care. Besides the standard version, an organic variant of Zerose has also been launched in China.

Erythritol, also known as polyol or sugar alcohol, is a white crystalline powder that is odourless, with a clean sweet taste that is similar to sucrose.

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