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EU: risks involved in the authorisation of stevia
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As the University of Hohenheim reports, the EU Commission has authorised new uses of the natural sweetener stevia. Hitherto only steviol glycoside, not the natural stevia leaves, was approved for use as a calorie-free sweetener in food and beverages.
The EU Commission has now decided to permit the use of stevia leaves too in fruit teas and herbal teas. In the view of stevia expert Dr. Udo Kienle from the University of Hohenheim, this has great economic potential but there are also risks for the manufacturers. He says the leaves are definitely superior in taste to steviol glycoside that is produced using chemical processes. But the stevia expert sees a risk in the not totally clear definition in the new regulation. It is not clear whether the use of the leaves applies only to tea bags or to ready-to-drink tea as well. Dr. Kienle has therefore sent an enquiry to the European Commission.
He also points out that inferior quality is being offered on the international market and there is the risk of buying genetically modified stevia as used in China and South America for the manufacture of steviol glycoside.