The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has provided two recommendations to the 43rd session of the Codex Committee on Food Additives (CCFA), being held in Xiamen, China, March 14 - 18, regarding the U.S. position on maximum levels in food supplements of two food additives: steviol glycosides and sorbates.
The CCFA is part of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international body created to develop food standards, to protect the health of consumers, and to ensure fair trade practices in the food trade. The maximum levels of steviol glycosides and sorbates are in the process of being established under the Codex General Standard for Food Additives.
AHPA's recommendations were submitted in the form of a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials who serve as the US representatives to the CCFA meeting.
Specifically, AHPA recommended that CCFA:
- Replace a proposed maximum level of 1,820 mg/kg for steviol glycosides in food supplements with a level of 10,000 mg/kg. Steviol glycosides are the compounds in stevia leaf (Stevia rebaudiana) responsible for its sweetness.
- Support Codex' proposed maximum level of 2,000 mg/kg of sorbates in liquid food supplements, but also establish a maximum level of 1,000 mg/kg of sorbates for non-liquid food supplements.
"A food supplement tablet containing steviol at the level suggested by AHPA would represent only a small portion of its commonly accepted daily intake level," says Michael McGuffin, AHPA president. "And because steviol only has a functional application as a sweetener in supplements that are tasted in the mouth, it is not likely to become broadly used in food supplements and will not be used in capsules or tablets that are swallowed without tasting."
Codex has no legal authority in the US, but its standards can be significant in countries with emerging economies and markets for dietary supplements. A Codex standard also creates a point of reference for comparisons with the regulations in place in other countries that can be useful in the creation or amendment of such standards in the US.
"We tapped into our members' expertise to develop positions that were consistent with their use of these substances in food supplements," says McGuffin. "As a result, we've asked Codex to take specific action on the maximum levels of steviol glycosides and sorbates in food supplements and provided documentation to support our requests."
About the American Herbal Products Association
The American Herbal Products Association is the national trade association for and voice of the herbal products industry. AHPA is comprised of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs. Founded in 1982, AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products.