Cargill supports Belgian steviol glycoside guidance

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Steviol glycosides Stevia

Cargill supports Belgian steviol glycoside guidance
Global sweeteners firm Cargill has welcomed fresh guidance from Belgium on the labelling and advertising of steviol glycosides used to sweeten food products.

The new guidance, which was issued by The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain in Belgium, has contributed to the current debate regarding whether stevia and steviol glycosides can be termed 'natural' in foods.

The Guidance addresses how the sweetener must be declared in the ingredients list and labelled when sold as a table-top sweetener, in accordance with existing national legislation on food labelling and publicity. Permitted and prohibited claims and voluntary statements are also addressed.

The update clarifies that the terms “naturally sweetened”​ and “naturally sweet taste”​ are prohibited when steviol glycosides have been used as a sweetener in foods which otherwise would not be sweet. That's because in these instances the sweetener has been added to the product instead of being naturally present, the agency said. However, it has advised that the term “naturally sweet taste”​ can be used to describe steviol glycosides themselves.

Stevia extracts

Commenting on the move, Juliana Martinez Sanchez, scientific and regulatory affairs manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Cargill's European research and development centre, told FoodNavigator: "Steviol glycosides are made by the stevia plant and they accumulate on the leaves; they are extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant and technically are stevia extracts, a sweetener coming from the stevia.

"The revised guidelines do now extend and accept the use of new wording to refer to this fact, therefore correctly referring that steviol glycosides are extract naturally contained in the stevia plant."

However, she added: "It may be worth noting that the sweetener, steviol glycosides, is commonly and very often referred to as ‘stevia’, the reference being to the sweetener rather than for the stevia plan as such."​ She called for further improvement of European guidance in that respect.

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We are looking for the partnership to grow Stevia plantation in North Sumatra Indonesia

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