Coke, Cargill to work together to introduce sweetener

by Staff
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ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Co. plans to begin using a new calorie-free sweetener, called rebiana, in some of its products in markets in other countries. The beverage company also hopes to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration to use the sweetener in the United States.

The introduction of the new natural sweetener is a partnership between Coca-Cola and Cargill. The beverage company will market and use the sweetener in products, and Cargill will use its contracted farmers to grow the stevia plant, which rebiana is extracted from. Cargill will also refine the sweetener and will possibly use it in some of its food products.

Rebiana comes from the leaves of the stevia plant, which is a South American herb. While the herb isn’t approved for use in the United States, it is approved in 12 other countries such as Brazil, Japan and China, said Kari Bjorhus, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola. The herb also has not yet gone through testing the F.D.A. requires before it may be used as a food additive. However, Cargill is working on clinical trials of the sweetener in an effort to support a petition requesting F.D.A. permission to use the product as a food additive.

Coca-Cola has filed 24 patent applications concerning uses, formulation and processing of high-potency sweeteners.

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