By the end of this year, French consumers could be stirring Reb-A into their morning coffee. Even though stevia is not yet approved as an ingredient in the EU, the French are taking advantage of a loophole that allows individual member states to approve ingredient use for a two-year window. Though the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has yet to offer an opinion on whether to approve Reb A and stevia glycosides, the move may help companies gain market share while waiting for final approval.
Greensweet, the Auvergne-based company that submitted the application, anticipates that the decision will open up a significant number of French product launches using Reb-A in the coming year. The French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) approved Reb-A, but not stevia glycosides. Consensus is that France and the rest of the EU will wait for EFSA to approve the use of steviol glycosides some time in 2010.