Blue California self-affirms sweetener as GRAS

by Staff
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RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CALIF. — Blue California has completed its self-affirmation for the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for Good&Sweet Reb-A 97% for use as a general purpose sweetener in a variety of food products, including beverages, confectioneries and table-top products, the company said Dec. 17.

Good&Sweet Reb-A 97% is extracted from the stevia plant. The zero-calorie natural sweetener is 400 times sweeter than sugar. An expert panel convened by GRAS Associates, L.L.C., Bend, Ore., reviewed data for months before declaring the sweetener as GRAS.

"We were very impressed with Blue California’s Rebaudioside A (an extract of the stevia plant)," said Dr. Robert S. McQuate, Ph.D. and chief executive officer of GRAS Associates. "Its extremely high quality puts it at the top end of purity. It will serve the food industry and consumers especially well."

Also on Dec. 17, the Food and Drug Administration sent letters to Cargill and Whole Earth Sweetener Co., L.L.C., saying it had no questions on the GRAS status of stevia-based sweeteners offered by those two companies for use in food and beverages. Previously, stevia-based sweeteners could be used only in dietary supplements in the United States.

"We are very pleased the completion of our GRAS dossier almost coincided with the F.D.A.’s announcement of Reb-A, clearing the way for food and beverage companies to use this natural sweetener," said Cecilia McCollum, executive vice-president of Rancho Santa Margarita-based Blue California. "Consumers worldwide want a safe natural sweetener without calories or guilt."

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