Dec 4, 2006, 9:12 PM
Post #1 of 1
Registered: Dec 19, 1999
In 1991, at the request of an anonymous complaint, the United States Food and Drug Administration labeled stevia as an "unsafe food additive" and restricted its import. The FDA's stated reason was "toxicological information on stevia is inadequate to demonstrate its safety." This ruling was controversial, as stevia proponents pointed out that this designation violates the FDA's own guidelines, under which any natural substance used prior to 1958 with no reported adverse effects should be generally recognized as safe (GRAS).
Stevia occurs naturally, requiring no patent to produce it. As a consequence, since the import ban in 1991, marketers and consumers of stevia have shared a belief that the sweetener industry pressured the FDA to keep stevia out of the United States. Arizona congressman Jon Kyl, for example, called the FDA action against stevia "a restraint of trade to benefit the artificial sweetener industry." To date, the FDA has never revealed the source of the original complaint in its responses to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.
The FDA requires proof of safety before recognizing a food additive as safe. A similar burden of proof is required for the FDA to ban a substance or label it unsafe. Nevertheless, stevia remained banned until after the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act forced the FDA in 1995 to revise its stance to permit stevia to be used as a dietary supplement, although not as a food additive — a position that stevia proponents regard as contradictory because it simultaneously labels stevia as safe and unsafe, depending on how it is sold.
Note that stevia has been the sweetener of choice in Japan for over 30 years, and there have been no harmfull effects noted in that very populous country, not one iota... Stevia also comprises 40% of the world's sweetnener market, just not in the US.
It appears the FDA has something to hide, especially given that they refuse to reveal the source of the "anonymous complaint" that led to its ban, even after requests for that info had been filed under the Freedom of Information Act. It appears that we (USA) are being denied access to a healthier sweetener since it cannot be patented, and thus large profits made... Remember, saccharin is a suggested carcinoen, but $$$ can be made from that.
Oh hell.... 'collegekid' has worn off on me.
(This post was edited by rrradam on Dec 4, 2006, 9:13 PM)