The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened the door for Blue California to sell its Reb-A sweetener.

Blue California is the third company and the only manufacturer of purified Reb-A to receive the FDA’s notification. The FDA essentially agreed with an expert panel that that the company’s Good&Sweet Reb-A 97% is GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe).

Cargill and Merisant received the FDA’s “no objection letters” in December 2008, opening the door to food and beverage companies to use this component of the stevia leaf in food products as long as the purity is no less than 95%.

The notification makes it possible for Good&Sweet to be used in a variety of food products such as baked goods. The FDA’s response does not necessarily apply to the use of other stevia products such as food ingredients, according to the Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based company.

Blue California’s pure Reb-A 99% surpasses industry standards and offers the opportunity to food manufacturers all over the world to develop food products with reduced calories without sacrificing taste, the company says.

“This is what the consumer has always wanted, natural sweetener with great taste and zero calories,” says Steven Chen, president of Blue California.

Good&Sweet is 400 times sweeter than sugar and less expensive than sugar when sweetening capacity is considered.

“We are very pleased with the FDA’s response and our company’s accomplishment,” adds Cecilia McCollum, the company’s executive vice president. “The availability of a natural sweetener that offers great taste and zero calories is of major significance to consumers everywhere. Moms can now expect less sugar in their children’s cereals and food products with reduced calories from baked goods to jellies and sauces.”

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