The approval of Stevia
The approval of Stevia
The official Stevia approval in Europe and thus also in Germany was granted in December 2011 by EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority. Prior to its approval, stevia was marketed as a bath additive or cosmetic. Stevia sweeteners were not allowed to be sold as food at that time. The interest in the health-promoting sweetening power of Stevia rebaudiana was growing in the population and the approval is mainly due to the efforts of Prof. Dr. Jan Geuns from the University of Leuven in Belgium.
Stevia is approved in the EU and Germany since 2011
In Germany, the agricultural faculties of the University of Bonn and Hohenheim have been intensively involved in the cultivation, research, production and processing of stevia since the mid-1980s. The first field trials with different stevia plant genera were carried out here.
A study at that time documented that steviol was carcinogenic in very high doses. This was refuted several times in the following years, until the approval after nearly 25 years also in the EU and thus also in Germany took place. According to the "Novel Food Regulation", novel foods and food additives may only be marketed in the EU if they have been declared harmless. The EFSA experts, after reviewing all data, approved the EU approval applications of the EUSTAS (European Stevia Association) and two corporations for stevia and steviol glycosides respectively.
This is a victory for all health-conscious consumers in Germany and Europe.
The worldwide distribution and approval of Stevia
In Japan the first Stevia cultivation has been done since the 60s. The health-conscious attitude of the Japanese to nutrition led to Japan being one of the first countries besides Brazil to intensively research and use steviol glycosides on a large scale. Japanese and Brazilian scientists could jointly prove in studies that steviol glycosides are not toxic. Today Japan is one of the largest buyers of the natural sweetener steviol glycosides and imports this mainly from China, Brazil, Korea and Taiwan. Japanese consumers today have a wide choice of stevia products and stevia sweetened foods and beverages.
Since 2008, stevia products may be marketed in Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland (in registration). You can find herbal teas, sweets, iced tea and many other foods sweetened with Steviol glycosides. In 2009, the high-purity Rebaudioside A was provisionally approved for two years in France.
In South America, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, the home of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, Stevia has been cultivated and used since the beginning of the 20th century. The question of Stevia approval never arose here. In Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, the situation is similar, here stevia has become an important export raw material.