The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources recently published a new scientific opinion on steviol glycosides, which concludes favorably on the inclusion of rebaudioside M as part of the steviol glycoside specification, for stevia leaf extracts from the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant.
This opinion will be evaluated by the European member states in January 2016 and subsequent to that, one can expect a final amendment to be approved later in 2016.
The current EU specification stipulates that the steviol glycoside preparations from the plant should have no less than 95% of 10 specific steviol glycosides namely: stevioside; rebaudioside A, B, C, D, E, and F; steviolbioside; rubusoside and dulcoside. When this new change is authorized, the specification will allow rebaudioside M to be part of the 95 percent high purity stevia extract from leaf, making it 11 allowed steviol glycosides. The panel also concluded that provided the total amount of the 11 steviol glycosides are greater than 95 percent, the specific composition was not of concern, which means, the current requirement that 75 percent of the composition be stevioside and/or rebaudioside A will no longer be necessary. The same uses and use levels in the current EU specification will apply to the expected future amended specification.
Steviol glycosides are high intensity sweeteners extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant, Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, are 200 – 350 times sweeter than sugar, and can be used in a variety of food and beverage products across the world.
This new development for rebaudioside M extracted from the stevia leaf is exciting as it makes the possibility for a broader portfolio of great tasting stevia leaf extracts possible when approved, thus, expanding the opportunity for stevia even more.
For more information see http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4316