Sweet Green Fields (SGF), the leading U.S. science based, natural sweetener innovator, announces a new innovative technology to overcome processing obstacles typically present in the production of organic stevia extracts. SGF has taken a very stringent and rigorous science based approach to validate its purification process as 100 percent conforming to USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations.
Dr. Mel Jackson, SGF's vice president of science, notes "be aware utilizing standard stevia processing procedures will not comply with the NOP guidelines," and he encourages food and beverage companies to fully audit their organic suppliers by "looking well beyond the paperwork."
Dr. Jackson highlights that "full compliance comes, as most will know, with using certified organic stevia leaf but not many will know that the production stages where the clarification of crude extracts occurs and the column chromatography need to be overhauled from existing practices. This is because only organic chemical production and cleaning aids are permitted in the extraction process and must be on the USDA's NOP national list of accepted processing aids. And finally, if ethanol is used, this also must be from a certified organic source."
SGF has undertaken several years of research to develop innovative processes that overcome these challenges and specifically comply with the USDA NOP regulations. These innovative processes which do not allow for use of non-organic chemicals create a "fully compliant" organic product line.
SGF Organics product line has the same great taste profile as the company's current non organic Puresse 100, Optesse HPX and Optesse HPS proprietary products. "It can take more time to get it right, but SGF is very pleased to offer the guarantee of authenticity on its SGF organics," states Dr. Jackson.
In addition to creating innovative organic processes, SGF has recently harvested its first full scale commercial, Certified Organic Stevia crop. It has taken several years to develop the technology and protocols to both conform to USDA NOP organic regulations and produce crops that will economically compete on a global scale.
"When you commit to providing a seed supply that is certified organic and move that to a commercial certified organic growing environment (that doesn't afford the opportunity to utilize inorganic fertilizers, or agrochemicals), while at the same time you're working to mechanize every phase of crop production, there is much to learn with several years of trials to get commercially viable results," stated Hal Teegarden, SGF's vice president of agriculture. "At SGF we are very fortunate to be able to work with some of the best growers and Land Grant research partners in the world to collectively build a new USA agriculture crop."
"As sales trends for natural and organic food and beverage products continue to grow, SGF is seeing much more interest in organic stevia made from leaf which is grown and certified right here in the USA," added SGF CEO Dean Francis. "We look forward to continuing our 2014 organic crop scale up and encourage potential customers to walk, and taste, the fields with us."