EU Allows Stevia Sweetener in Coffee & Tea Beverages

Posted By: Selerant RSA

Steviol glycosides will soon be allowed to apply as sweetener in certain energy-reduced or with no added sugars beverages in EU, according to a latest amendment the Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/479 published on April 1 2016. The amendment was made to the Regulation 1333/2008 and will enter into force on April 22, 2016.

The specific categories of food affected by the amendment and the corresponding maximum level of steviol glycosides are as follows:

  • coffee, tea and herbal infusion beverages at maximum level of 30 mg/L;
  • flavored instant coffee and instant cappuccino products at maximum level of 30 mg/L;
  • malt-based and chocolate/cappuccino flavored drinks at maximum level of 30 mg/L.

All of these products placed on the EU market will be subject to the maximum levels from April 22, 2016. Using steviol glycosides as sweeteners in these beverages will reduce their caloric contents thanks to the constituents’ non-caloric and sweet-tasting properties.

The extension of use of steviol glycosides met breakthrough in recent years after the two EFSA opinions expressed on May 2, 2014 and June 30, 2015 respectively. Despite the EFSA opinions, steviol glycosides remain at the center of a debate for their safe use in non-alcoholic beverages and flavored fermented milk products destined for toddlers (aged 12 to 35 months). A research conducted by an institute from the Netherland called National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, non-alcoholic beverages and flavored fermented milk products remain the main contributors to exposure to steviol glycosides for that particular age group.

However, the energy-reduced or with no added sugars beverage do not fall into food subcategory of products intended to be consumed by toddlers and therefore use of steviol glycoside has been considered as safe in these products.

The amendment came just two weeks after the EU has set a new limit on the use of steviol glycosides in mustard products.

All the changes related to food additives in the European Union legislation can be found in our Regdata® database.