As mentioned in February 2009’s sweeteners article, at the end of 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a no objection letter giving high-purity rebaudioside A (an all-natural, zero calorie sweetener derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant) Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status at a minimum specification of 95% in food and beverage applications. Now that the sweetener’s safety has been confirmed, there’s only one thing left for companies to do – put it to use!

After six years of research and development, Cargill is finally able to market itsTruvia brand sweetener made with high-purity rebiana.

“Given the extensive research conducted to assure the safety ofTruvia rebiana, Cargill has tremendous confidence in the product,” said Marcelo Montero, president, Cargill Health & Nutrition in a company release. “The FDA letter further validates what the science has concluded – thatTruvia rebiana is safe for use for all consumers. The FDA brought the appropriate rigor to the process and we are extremely pleased with the news.”

Additionally, Wild Flavors, Inc. -- a supplier of natural and health-enhancing ingredients, flavors and colors for the food and beverage industry -- has partnered with Sunwin International Neutraceuticals, Inc. -- a global supplier of all-natural, zero-calorie stevia -- to sell, market and distribute Sunwin International stevia extracts. The companies also plan to formulate natural sweetening blends for food and beverage products.

Wild and Sunwin’s first step will be to receive GRAS status for Sunwin’s stevia extracts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. By combining both companies’ expertise, the partnership will allow for customized product application, potential for “all-natural” and “low glycemic” claims, and solutions for low-calorie or sugar-reduced products.

According to a study conducted by Clear Seas Research, 20% of industry insiders believe that the bakery/snack/candy industry will utilize rebiana-based sweeteners the most, compared with beverage, dairy, prepared foods and other industries.