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Dispatches from IFT

SGF doubles stevia production with new 1,000 MT plant

By Stephen Daniells in Anaheim , 08-Jun-2009
Last updated on 10-Jun-2009 at 15:28 GMT

SGF doubles stevia production with new 1,000 MT plant

Sweet Green Fields (SGF) has announced the opening of a new facility in China with annual production of 1,000 MT of finished product, doubling its current capacity.

Announcing the opening at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Anaheim, Mel Jackson, vice president science for Washington State-based SGF, told FoodNavigator: “The new facility makes us comparable with any other player [in the stevia market].”

Jackson added that the company grows its own crops, and that it was “vital” to control the supply chain, in order to ensure the quality of the material.

The company confirmed that it is witnessing a lot of activity with dairy, beverage, and confectionery, and that the company is “formulating with household names”.

SGF’s standard product contains 97 per cent Reb A, and it is FDA-approved, exceeding FDA GRAS specifications”. The product is also self-affirmed GRAS- coordinated by the New York Medical College, said the company.

The steviol glycoside Reb A is the sweetest, purest part of the stevia leaf.

The US market for stevia opened up in December when The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it has no objection to rebiana, (Reb A) at 95 percent purity or above, having GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status as a general purpose sweetener for food and drink, not just as a supplement.

Click here to listen to Mel Jackson at the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Anaheim.

Earlier this year, Sweden’s Granular entered into a joint partnership to build a refinery for the natural sweetener in South America which it said will be environmentally neutral.

It will be built in Caaguazú, Paraguay, on the site of an old Coca Cola production plant which is owned by Dr Nicolás Leoz, Granular’s partner in this venture.

Granular’s overall investment in Paraguay, which includes corporate social responsibility commitments to support local farmers, is expected to be between $20-40M and the 400 ton refinery is due to be operational in 2010/11.

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