Fermented-Stevia Supplier Hopes to Expedite Regulatory Approval

Stevia First Corp. wants to commercialize fermentation-based stevia extracts. It must get GRAS status first.

Stevia First Corp. (Sacramento, CA), a specialist in fermentation-based stevia extracts, has signed a non-disclosure agreement with GRAS Associates LLC (Bend, OR)-with intent to speed up its FDA approval process.

Steviol glycosides are the active sweetening compounds in the stevia leaf. While FDA considers these substances to be GRAS, the agency has not made a GRAS determination for fermented steviol glycosides. Fermentation-based stevia extracts are quite new to market, but all signs point to increased activity around these products due to their apparent sustainable business models.

GRAS Associates LLC should facilitate Stevia First’s approval process; after all, the consulting group has plenty of experience preparing GRAS applications for stevia extracts. Stevia First says GRAS Associates is responsible for more than half of the public GRAS notifications that have been filed in this category.

“We are pleased to have this interaction with Stevia First as they advance plans to obtain GRAS status,” says Gras Associates LLC CEO and cofounder Robert McQuate, PhD. “We are very familiar with the stevia industry and related technologies, and so the path to compliance is clearly delineated. We look forward to the process and a positive outcome.”

Stevia First is marketing its fermentation-based stevia extracts under its “Beyond Reb A” project, which includes fermented forms of a number of other stevia rebaudiosides (sweetening compounds), including rebaudiosides D and X.