DISPATCHES FROM IFT

GLG’s stevia blends achieve self-affirmed GRAS

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Stevia

GLG Life Tech announced the commercial launch of its BlendSure range of stevia-derived sweeteners at IFT on Monday, following attainment of self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status late last week.

The company’s BlendSure products contain at least 95 percent steviol glycosides - the sweet components of the stevia leaf - and either 60, 70 or 80 percent Reb A - the component said to have a taste profile close to that of sucrose.

GLG has said that BlendSure sweeteners are part of the company’s strategy to protect against variations in the taste of stevia extracts, by giving it greater control over the precise ratios of steviol glycosides.

Speaking at a press conference at the IFT show in Chicago, vice president of marketing at GLG James Kempland said: “As of Friday, we do have our self affirmed letter and we will be submitting our FDA dossier in the next couple of days.”

GLG said its researchers developed BlendSure as a proprietary blend of stevia’s sweet components, such as Reb A and stevioside, in order to provide sucrose-like taste in a heat and pH stable product. The blend is intended to work particularly well in carbonated beverage formulations.

“What we wanted to look at was how stevioside worked with rebaudioside A in much the same way as a wine maker blends different grapes…to create a certain taste profile,”​ Kempland said. “It also addresses some of the cost-in-use issues that still seem to be a barrier for some parts of the market.”

Nevertheless, he added that the company’s RebPure 97 product, containing 97 percent Reb A, remains a viable part of GLG’s portfolio, as food and beverage manufacturers look to different sweeteners for different formulations.

Currently, stevia-derived sweeteners containing at least 95 percent steviol glycosides conform to JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) standards, which are used as a reference point for food standards in many countries across the world - a benchmark that BlendSure sweeteners meet. In the United States, however, food additives are subject to the FDA’s GRAS process, and self-affirmed GRAS, assessed by a panel of independent experts, helps to reassure potential customers of an ingredient’s safety.

Issuance of a letter of no objection from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), following agency review of the data, is considered to be the US gold standard for ingredient safety assurance.

Last month Kempland told reporters that the company hopes to receive an FDA letter of no objection for the GRAS status of its BlendSure products by the end of 2010.

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