Stevia Receives Positive Safety Opinion from EFSA

September 20, 2010

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for the safe use of stevia as a food sweetener, last week.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for the safe use of stevia as a food sweetener, last week.

EFSA's Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources (ANS) established a safe intake of steviol glycosides at 4 mg per kg of body weight, daily-an amount previously established by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). EFSA's report adds that this ADI can be exceeded by adults and children if used at maximum levels suggested by the applicants.

Toxicological testing indicated that "steviol glycosides are not genotoxic, carcinogenic, nor associated with any reproductive/developmental toxicity," according to EFSA's report.

Three petitioners, including Cargill (Wayzata, MN), submitted dossiers for stevia, with steviol glycosides specified at no less than 95% stevioside and/or rebaudioside A.

"This is a very important milestone in the path of European regulatory approval of steviol glycosides," said Zanna McFerson, assistant vice president for Cargill Health and Nutrition, the maker of Truvia brand stevia sweetener. "Consumers in Europe will benefit by having more choice as they look to manage sugars and calories in their lives."

In May 2008, Cargill published peer-reviewed safety research of its Truvia brand sweetener in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. This research was submitted to EFSA as part of stevia's claims substantiation.

To read a summary of EFSA's decision, click here.