Codex Alimentarius adopts framework for stevia technology

The international food standard safety authority, Codex Alimentarius, has adopted the Framework for Steviol Glycosides, which encompasses four technologies used in the production of steviol glycosides.

The international food standard safety authority, Codex Alimentarius, has adopted the Framework for Steviol Glycosides, which encompasses four technologies used in the production of steviol glycosides. These include: stevia leaf extract, steviol glycosides from bioconversion, steviol glycosides from fermentation and glucosylated steviol glycosides.

“The Framework approach ensures that business operators can put steviol glycosides produced through their various technologies on the market without submitting new dossiers, provided they fulfill the defined criteria and specifications per technology,” explains Maria Teresa Scardigli, executive director of the International Stevia Council (Washington, DC; ISC), in a press release. “This is based on the authorities’ review of the production technology, ensuring the highest level of safety, purity and quality is achieved for the final steviol glycoside ingredient put on the market.”

“The new Codex framework is timely as the benefits of steviol glycosides, the sweet component in the stevia leaf, fit into the broader health and wellness narrative, which is something consumers want to see more of, and global food and beverage manufacturers want greater access to,” said Luca Giannone, senior vice president of sales for Sweegen (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA), in a press release. Sweegen, a member of ISC, represented the bioconversion technology included in the framework.

“With this framework, most countries in the world will gradually adopt this standard, and our global stevia footprint can expand more rapidly into countries where we are seeking approval for offering our pure, clean, and great-tasting Signature Bestevia ingredients produced by bioconversion,” added Giannone. Technological advancements, such as bioconversion, produce a clean new generation of sweetener molecules such as Rebaudiosides M, D, and E, originally found in small quantities in the stevia leaf. These molecules offer a better sensory profile compared to first-generation ingredients such as Rebaudiosides A. Under the new framework, all of Sweegen’s rebaudiosides are approved by Codex.

With the adoption of the new framework, manufacturers will have more options on the use of stevia and the flexibility to use stevia from different production technologies, depending on the formulation. Beverages continue to be the leading category for new product launches with stevia, according to ISC, but sports nutrition, supplements, dairy, snacks, and confectionary are seeing significant growth. Emerging new categories are desserts, ice cream, bakery products, and cereals. The framework also opens more markets for the use of stevia. According to ISC, there has been a 35% increase of new product launches with stevia in regions such as Eastern Europe, Australasia, Africa, and the Middle East between 2011 and 2021.