Quality and Purity of Popular Stevia Sweetener Strengthened by New Reference Standards

As the number of food and beverage products sweetened with stevia-based ingredients continues to grow in the United States and worldwide, the U.S. Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention today announces that new reference standards for Rebaudioside A and Stevioside are now available. The reference standards for these two ingredients complement the soon to be released written testing standard for high-purity Rebaudioside A in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), a collection of documentary standards for food ingredients that allow manufacturers to demonstrate the quality, and thus related aspects of safety, of the products they provide to consumers.

The reference standards for Rebaudioside A and Stevioside are authenticated pure chemicals against which both producers and purchasers can compare their ingredients to help ensure and substantiate the identity, quality, purity, strength and consistency of their food ingredient, protecting their products and brands from low-quality, potentially adulterated ingredients, thus helping to maintain food safety. The internationally recognized FCC and its associated reference standards are produced by USP, a nonprofit scientific organization that has set chemical standards for close to 200 years. These standards—for pharmaceuticals, excipients, dietary supplements and food ingredients—are used in more than 130 countries throughout the world. The new stevia standards demonstrate the commitment of USP to continue to support the food industry with quality monographs and reference standards.

“These new reference standards, taken together with the written standards in the FCC, provide a powerful tool to help ensure the authenticity of the ingredients manufacturers are using in their new stevia-based product lines,” said James Griffiths, Ph.D., vice president of food, dietary supplement and excipient standards for USP. “As these ingredients are produced all over the world in widely disparate facilities, their authenticity, quality and purity cannot be taken for granted. It is thus important for ingredient producers who want to safeguard their products to demonstrate the quality of their ingredients to their customers. USP is well poised and committed to providing useful tools for enabling interested parties to readily verify new stevia-based sweeteners and numerous other food ingredients.”

The new reference standards have been thoroughly tested and endorsed by USP’s Reference Standards Expert Committee, a group of independent volunteer experts, to ensure their suitability for use. The written FCC testing standard for high-purity Rebaudioside A is expected to be released August 31, 2009. For more information and to purchase the reference standards, visit www.usp.org/products/referenceStandards/.

USP—Advancing Public Health Since 1820

The United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention is a scientific, nonprofit, standards-setting organization that advances public health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods. USP's standards are recognized and used worldwide. For more information about USP visit http://www.usp.org. FY0944

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