F.D.A. has no questions on sweetener's GRAS status

by Jeff Gelski
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HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND — The Food and Drug Administration has no objections to the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of Fruit-Sweetness branded monk fruit concentrate for use as a sweetener and flavor enhancer, according to an F.D.A. letter received by Hamilton-based BioVittoria Ltd., a producer and processor of monk fruit (luo han guo).

In July of 2009 BioVittoria filed a GRAS notice with the F.D.A. for the use of Siraitia grosvenorii (luo han guo) fruit extract for use as a general-purpose sweetener and flavor enhancer. Naturally occurring compounds in the fruit are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar.

“Monk fruit has been a traditional food in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years, but the existing technology for cultivating and processing the fruit could not provide the volume, product consistency and taste quality needed in a natural sweetener for the food and beverage industry,” said David Thorrold, chief executive officer for BioVittoria. “BioVittoria has transformed the monk fruit industry through advances in plant varieties, seedling cultivation, growing methods and fruit processing, creating the world’s only vertically integrated monk fruit supply chain.”

Paul Palaski, vice-president of sales and marketing for BioVittoria and based in Chicago, said, “Our consumer research in the U.S. shows moms and their families are wanting natural, healthy choices for everyday food and beverage items like cereals, juice drinks and yogurts. The same research shows that moms trust fruit for healthy nutrition. Fruit-Sweetness delivers a tangible consumer benefit by maintaining the core brand values of natural, great-tasting, healthy sweetness from fruit.”

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