The International Stevia Council and its members applaud the positive vote of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on the Commission Regulation to authorize the use of steviol glycosides as a non-caloric sweetener in the European market.
Steviol glycosides or purified stevia extracts come from the Stevia plant—a small herb native to South America whose leaves have been used for centuries by native tribes to sweeten foods and drinks. As a member of the largest family of plants, Asteraceae or the “sunflower family”, stevia is related to such herbs and vegetables as chamomile, tarragon, endive and lettuce.
Global leading food safety experts, including the European Food Safety Authority, have established that steviol glycosides are safe for all populations to consume and are a suitable sweetening option for people with diabetes.
Carl Horn, President of the International Stevia Council, said: “Today’s vote of the Standing Committee on the authorization of the use of steviol glycosides in foods and drinks brings this calorie-free naturally sourced sweetness one step closer to all consumers in Europe, not just those in France where steviol glycosides were approved for use in food nearly two years ago.
The next step in the regulatory process for steviol glycosides is scrutiny of the regulation by the European Parliament. The International Stevia Council encourages the European Parliament to support the approval of steviol glycosides as a food additive in Europe so that food manufacturers and consumers throughout the European Union can begin to enjoy the benefits of a natural calorie-free sweetener.