We sell organic stevia leaves but we do not have certified organic stevia extracts in our product portfolio. According to EGPTO (Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production - European Commition) steviol glycosides (stevia extracts) do not apply for Organic Certification.
EGPTO concluded that because of the use of ion exchange in the process of extracting steviol Glycosides from the stevia leaves, stevia extracts can not be certified as organic. Please find the conclusion of the EGPTO here: http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/eu-policy/expert-advice/documents/final-reports/final_report_egtop_on_organic_food_en.pdf (page 22)
”The use of steviol glycosides (E 960) as food additive is not in line with the objectives criteria and principles of organic farming as laid down in the organic Regulation. If it would be available in organic quality and meet the needed purity criteria of the food additive regulations, without using ion exchange, the Group concluded that steviol glycosides should be included in Annex VIII A, but only for use in foodstuffs for particular nutritional uses. ”
Stevia is a plant of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family, the leaves of which have been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. Extracts from the stevia leaf have been available as food additives (sweeteners) and/or dietary supplements in many countries around the world.
Stevia extract is not an ideal consumer product due to its intense sweetness that is up to 400 times sweeter than sucrose. In order to sweeten a cup of coffee with stevia extract you’d have to use a toothpick as a dispenser. To make stevia extract an ideal consumer product we use erythritol for dilution.
Erythritol is a natural sugar alcohol that is 60-70% as sweet as regular granulated sugar but contains no calories or carbohydrates*. It does not raise the level of blood sugar and does not cause tooth decay. Erythritol is commonly used as a bulking agent when creating a table top sweetener that contains steviol glycosides.
* Non-absorbing carbohydrates and can therefore be counted as zero.
Natural (natural origin)
Zero glycemic load, safe for diabetics
High solubility, ideal for diverse food applications
Heat stable, suitable for cooking/baking
Excellent shelf life
The definition of a natural ingredient vary from country to country; however, in general, a substance that can be found in nature is considered “natural” (or in some countries “of natural origin”) provided it can be brought to the marketplace using minimal processing. In the US, “Minimal processing” is considered washing, grinding, filtering and extraction with water or other natural solvents
Through a series of digestive processes, the body breaks down steviol glycosides (the form of stevia we eat) into steviol glucuronide. The steviol glucuronide is then removed from the body in the urine.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific opinion on the safety of steviol glycosides for the proposed uses as a food additive: “Metabolic studies with steviol glycosides in animals and humans demonstrated that intact steviol glycosides are poorly absorbed after oral exposure but that they are hydrolysed by the microflora in the colon to steviol. A large amount of steviol is absorbed; the rest is excreted in the feces. In the liver, steviol undergoes conjugation with glucuronic acid to form steviol glucuronide. The only interspecies difference is that the glucuronide is excreted primarily via the urine in humans and via the bile in rats. No accumulation of steviol glycoside derivatives occurs in the body. Besides steviol glucuronide, no other derivatives could be detected in the urine of humans exposed orally to steviol glycosides”.
High purity stevia is produced using minimal processing that involves crushing the leaves, extraction with water followed by filtration, further purification using natural solvents and then drying.
Price and quality are independent variables. There is a misconception that the Real Stevia Reb A 97 is ‘better’ or more superior than Real Stevia Reb 85 and Real Stevia Reb 60. It is true that higher level of Rebaudioside A results to a higher price; however, the choice of product greatly depends on its application and complementing ingredients. Thus, we always recommend our clients to try all three products in order to determine which gives the best results.
The term stevia refers to a preparation (powder or liquid) of dried stevia leaves. The leaves contain sweet components called Steviol glycosides – including but not limited to Rebaudioside A, Stevioside, Rebaudiosides B, C, D, F, Steviolbioside, Rubusoside and Dulcoside A. Preparations from the stevia leaf may be extracted to contain a mixture of Steviol glycosides, a concentrated mix of Steviol glycosides or a single concentrated Steviol glycoside. These are named accordingly and can be used as a sugar substitute to sweeten foods and beverages and as a tabletop sweetener.
Stevia has been consumed for centuries by people in Paraguay. It was also approved decades ago (1970) and commercially available as an alternative sweetener in foods and beverages.
In December 2008, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued ”no objection” letters that Rebaudioside A purified from S. rebaudiana Bertoni stevia leaf is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
In 2008, 2009 and again in 2010, the Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization’s Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), a global panel of food ingredient safety experts, published specifications for steviol glycosides to be used as a sweetener.
In April 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Food Additive and Nutrient Source (ANS) published a positive scientific opinion on the safety of steviol glycosides as a food additive. A positive opinion by EFSA and ANS signals a significant step towards European Union-wide approval of stevia for use in food in the near future.
December 2011 Stevia got approved in Europe.
The Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) has calculated the safety of stevia and determined an Acceptable Daily Intake of 4mg/kg/day, which is the amount of stevia that is considered safe for an individual to consume daily over the course of a lifetime.
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific opinion on the safety of steviol glycosides for the proposed uses as a food additive:” Studies in humans have demonstrated that daily doses of the steviol glycosides up to 1000 mg/person/day, equivalent to 16.6 mg/kg bw/day for a 60 kg person (corresponding to approximately 330 mg steviol equivalents/person/day or to 5.5 mg steviol equivalents/kg bw/day) were well-tolerated by individuals with normal glucose metabolism or type-2 diabetes mellitus. The Panel establishes an ADI for steviol glycosides, expressed as steviol equivalents, of 4 mg/kg bw/day based on application of a 100-fold uncertainty factor to the NOAEL for stevioside of 2.5% in the diet, equal to 967 mg stevioside/kg bw/day (approximately 388 mg steviol equivalents/kg bw/day), from a 2-year carcinogenicity study in the rat”.
2Conservative estimates of steviol glycoside exposure both in adults and in children suggest that it is not likely that the ADI would be exceeded at the maximum proposed use levels”. (EFSA Journal 2011; 9(5):2181)
The safety of stevia extracts has been extensively reviewed and scientifically proven by numerous international organizations, such as the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Studies of stevia extracts clearly support the safety of these ingredients. Further, clinical studies show that stevia extracts meeting purity criteria established by JECFA have no effect on either blood pressure or blood glucose response, indicating that stevia extracts are safe for use by persons with diabetes.
Over the last two years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated it has no questions regarding the conclusion of expert panels that Rebaudioside A is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use as a general purpose sweetener. To date, the FDA has stated that it has no questions in response to a number of separate stevia extract GRAS notifications.
There are no known side effects or allergies from the use of stevia extracts in foods and beverages.
Research has shown that stevia extracts do not affect blood glucose levels or interfere with insulin. With effectively zero calories, stevia extracts offer people with diabetes greater variety and flexibility in budgeting total calorie intake and assisting with weight management. Stevia extracts do not have an effect on GI, at the levels of use.
The concerns regarding stevia and infertility that are sometimes referred to in various contexts are based on older research (1968,Kruc; 1988, Alvarez).
In 1968, Professor Joseph Kruc, a member of Purdue University’s department of biochemistry conducted a study of Stevia at the University of the Republic in Montevideo. Giving a small number of rats very high doses of stevia, it was concluded that the rats given the herbal extract produced less offspring than those who were not. The problem, even Kruc admits today, is that the rats in the study were given such high doses of Stevia for such a short period of time, that even if it did cause the fertility problems noted, it could have been because of an overdose of the compound. People ingesting Stevia as a sweetener would never be able to consume such a large amount in such a short period of time.
In 1988, Professor Mauro Alvarez of Brazil’s University of Maringa Foundation repeated the study, reporting in a Brazilian pharmaceutical journal that female mice given Stevia experienced a contraceptive effect similar to those reported by Kruc.The problem with the results, argue critics is that the Alvarez study lacks the information and analysis required by such a research study and cannot be considered valid. According to the Herb Research Foundation the study lacks any credibility at all and should be disregarded. Alvarez himself now claims that further research has led him to believe that Stevia is completely safe for human consumption.
To address these concerns more recent studies have rigorously tested purified preparations of steviol glycosides (the sweet compounds in the stevia leaves), and numerous toxicological studies were conducted in both animals and humans. These studies showed that stevia extracts did not exert any pharmacological or toxicological effects in either rats or humans. Clinical studies in human subjects also showed no negative effects. The results of these toxicological and clinical studies strongly support the safety of stevia extracts. Based on this large body of research, both European and American food authorities has approved the use of stevia extracts with a steviol glycoside content of 95% purity and greater”.