Bestevia, a Reb M stevia sweetener from SweeGen (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), has received a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) “no objections” letter from FDA. The announcement was made by SweeGen together with Ingredion Inc. (Westchester, IL), which is the exclusive global distributor for SweeGen (except in China, where it is a non-exclusive distributor).
According to the companies, Bestevia Reb M is produced via an enzymatic conversion process using natural steviol glycosides derived from the stevia leaf. SweeGen says that it “is the first sweetener of its type to be made commercially available via bioconversion.”
In addition, SweeGen reports that Bestevia finally went commercial in February, and that the company has received positive feedback, including from “a major global beverage company that recently used SweeGen’s Bestevia Reb M in its large-scale trial for one of its bottled beverages.”
As a Reb M glycoside, SweeGen is said to have a clean, sweet taste comparable to regular table sugar that sidesteps any bitterness associated with other steviol glycosides. “Food and beverage manufacturers are now able to reduce a high percentage of sugar without sacrificing taste,” said Oscar Gutierrez, senior global director, sweetness innovation, Ingredion, in a press release.
Ingredion will now distribute Bestevia in the United States and Canada and plans to expand to other countries pending additional regulatory approvals. The new GRAS affirmation confirms Bestevia’s use as a general-purpose sweetener for food and beverage applications in the United States.