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Mogrosides are listed in the “caution” category, meaning CSPI believes more safety testing is warranted.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI; Washington, DC) has added mogrosides, the active sweetening compounds in the natural sweetener monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, to the nonprofit group’s online list of food additives.
The group’s Chemical Cuisine: A Guide to Food Additives list is broken down into subcategories of “safe,” “caution,” “cut back,” and “avoid,” depending on what CSPI has deemed each ingredient’s safety profile to be. Mogrosides are listed in the “caution” category, meaning CSPI believes more safety testing is warranted. CSPI states, “This product has not been well tested in animals, though, as a natural ingredient in a fruit that has been used as food in China for at least several hundred years and as an herbal medicine for the past several decades, it may well be perfectly safe.”
Of note, other sweeteners such as sucralose (best known as Splenda) and another emerging natural sweetener, monatin, are also categorized on the “caution” list.
“We’re pleased that CSPI has now included monk fruit on its list of food additives,” says Chris Tower, president of monk fruit supplier Layn USA Inc. (Newport Beach, CA). “Monk fruit is now the second and newest natural, high-intensity non-nutritive sweetener available to the North American consumer, following the 2009 entry of stevia. Inclusion on CPSI’s list comes as a welcomed surprise and serves as another validation for increasing acceptance of monk fruit.”
Monk fruit has gained more safety approvals as it strengthens its position in the natural sweeteners market. Layn’s monk fruit sweetener gained FDA GRAS status in April 2011, and Health Canada recently approved the use of monk fruit for tabletop use in Canada.