The long battle of biology professor Jan Geuns to get the EU Commision to approve the natural sweet stevia extract for use in Europe since 1997 finally seems to be over. The EU commission gave the green light, the proposal is still under consideration in the EU Parliament and EU Council; theoretically, objections could still be raised until 29 October, but this happening is highly unlikely.
The Estimated date for the official green light of the EU Commission is currently 15th November 2011.
Professor Geuns is delighted by the progress, but is not yet satisfied. He is already working on another application for admission; he is pushing to ensure that the extracts may be used in greater quantities and especially in “all foods”. This shall make it easier for companies to sweeten with stevia in any way they want, allowing development of a wide variety of processed food sweetened with stevia extract.
So, in future, the 3000 times sweeter than sugar stevia extract will not only be used by European health food insiders but by everyone. Mr Geuns says one has to get used to the slight licorice aftertaste but after a while it is no longer a problem. Many people already bake stevia sweetened cakes or sweeten their tea’s and coffees, there is an endless possibility to enhance and sweeten food with the help of this natural extract.
The obscure thing is, that the sweetening properties of the stevia herb from Paraguay has been used there for centuries. Asia has used stevia for may years, even the US and Australia have given the green light and officially permitted the commercial use of stevia. Only here in Europe has the official use been blocked on grounds of consumer health and safety. Professor Geuns described that earlier decision as stupid, he and his colleagues have been working tirelessly for years to prove the safety the natural stevia sweetener.
The actual EU bill will set exact rules on how stevia can be used in the EU in future. Only strictly set maximum amounts are allowed in processed foods such as marmalade and jams, refreshments drinks, milk products, fruit juices and breakfast cereals.
France and Switzerland both have already got some products such as Danone yoghurt, ketchup and chocolate available to consumers in their market area, they had applied for a special license in 2009 to use stevia as sweetener.
What products are you looking forward to being available sweetened with stevia extract?
If you are like me, and already are a dedicated stevia-sweet lover, you too will benefit from this EU law change allowing stevia to enter the supermarket products, making everyone’s life a sweeter and healthier affair.
Have you become curious what all this fuss is about? Do you want to try the magical stevia sweetener for yourself? Visit www.stevia-shop.co.uk and get your mini stevia-sweet starter kit, it allows you to sample our main products without investing all your cash whitout knowing if a product is right for you.
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Look out for new recipes such as sugar free fruit crumble coming soon.
Written report to accompany the TV news report “Bericht aus Bruessel” from german WDR aired on 5th October 20011:
Short video for the news report from the german WDR aired on the 5th October 2011:
Other links confriming same news and stevia related info:
UK news Guardian newspaper 2n October: