Health Canada now defines stevia as a food additive, not a Natural Heath Product.
Health Canada last Friday approved stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) for use in foods and beverages. The zero-calorie, plant-based sweetener was prior to regulated as a Natural Health Product (NHP), along with vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and probiotics.
Canada joins a growing number of territories that recognize stevia as a food additive or food ingredient, including Australia, Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico and, most recently, the European Union.
Effective immediately, steviol glycoside (the sweetening compound in stevia) is officially a “food additive” and a permitted sweetener that can be used in or on foods marketed in Canada. Here’s a list of the current product possibilities and their maximum usage levels, courtesy of Health Canada:
For a while now, Canada was rumored to be the next country in line for stevia food approval. According to Canada-based stevia supplier GLG Life Tech Corp. (Vancouver), which tipped Nutritional Outlook to this story, the company already has Canadian customers:
There has been a significant increase in projects using GLG stevia over the last several months since Health Canada has made steps forward in approving stevia for use within food and beverages. Although numerous food and beverage companies have been proactively working with the ingredient prior to this notice, this approval provides the confidence required for many of these organizations to invest further in the R&D and formulation work and expedite these projects.
Another stevia supplier, PureCircle (Chicago) has also gone public with the news, stating that its entire line of stevia ingredients already meets Canada’s specifications.