Maria Teresa Scardigli, Executive Director of the International Stevia Council, gave a speech at Food Ingredients Europe Conference 2011 in Paris, France on 29 November 2011.
In her speech entitled “The European Union’s acceptance and approval of stevia as a food additive”, Scardigli provided an update on the status of the stevia approval at European level and she reviewed the different steps of the regulatory process that paved the way for the EU approval including the safety opinion on steviol glycosides issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The speech can be found here.
Scardigli also presented in details the requirements, the specifications and the labeling rules adopted by the European Commission for the commercialization of products sweetened by stevia and reviewed the food categories that have been approved by the EU and in which stevia can be used.
She concluded stating “EU approval is a major step forward for the stevia industry: The European market is soon to be opened to stevia sweetened products & the consumers are provided with an additional choice to sweeten their foods and beverages with calorie-free and new sweetener of a natural origin, stevia.”
After the conference, Scardigli stated: “FI Europe Conference was a high level event which attracted many people and I was very pleased by the number of attendees participating at the session on stevia. The audience was very interested on this new sweetener from natural origin and calorie-free and asked many questions related to the growing of the plan and the extraction of the steviol glycosides, about current and future applications of stevia in products in Europe and about the work of the International Stevia Council and its Proficiency Testing Program. After the Conference, I went to the FI Europe Trade Show and there the “buzz” word of the 2011 edition was “stevia”. Everybody was genuinely interested to stevia as possible solution to reduce calorie in food and beverage products.”
Understanding the basics of stevia regulation in European F&B:
Establishing robust testing practices: the Proficiency Testing program for steviol glycosides: