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On July 4, an EU committee recommended the natural sweetener be pushed forward in the regulatory process.
The EU has recommended that stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) finally be approved as a food ingredient throughout Europe, according to multiple reports.
The EU Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health made the approval on Monday, another key step in bringing the natural, zero-calorie sweetener to EU-wide markets. France has already authorized the use of stevia in foods.
Industry is now awaiting European proposals for how the ingredient will be regulated in the EU.
“This is an important milestone on the path to securing approval for high purity stevia in the important EU market,” said Magomet Malsagov, CEO of stevia producer PureCircle Ltd. (Oak Brook, IL). “We know that there is strong consumer and Food and Beverage demand for stevia in Europe. We look forward to being allowed to supply that demand before the end of 2011.”
The U.S. food and beverage markets have already witnessed strong growth for stevia as a sweetener, with successful launches and reformulations from leading brands including SoBe, Sprite, Gatorade, and Coca-Cola.