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Published on : Nov 24, 2015

Nearly four years after the scientific panels studying food additives at the Food Safety and Standards Authority India, the food regulating authority of the country, recommended its usage for the first time, the natural sweetener stevia has received a go-ahead at last from the authority for widespread commercial use.

In a recent notification from the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, it has been said that the use of stevia in a range of products is permissible in the country. This includes dairy-based products, flavored drinks, carbonated drinks, ready to eat cereals, yoghurts, jams, nectars, among other products.

Experts say that the move will pave way for F&B industries that are the key users of sugar, including confectionary, beverages, and ice-cream makers, to use stevia as an effective alternative for their products.

The Food Safety & Standards Authority of India has recommended upto 200 mg usage of steviol glycoside per kg in soft drink concentrates, carbonated water, fruit nectars, yoghurts, non-carbonated water-based beverages, and dairy-based drinks.

Ice candies or ice lollies are permitted to contain 270 mg per kg of steviol glycoside. Ready to eat cereals and dairy based desserts are permitted the use of 350 mg and 330 mg per kg of steviol glycoside, respectively. Marmalades, jams, and jellies can have upto 360 mg per kg of the compound. Chewing gums are permitted to have as high as 3,500 mg per kg of the substance, and table top sweeteners may have upto 100 mg per kg, according to the notification.

In the past years, several companies such as Cargill and Coca-Cola had applied for the permissible usage of stevia in a number of their products. With the approval being finally granted, these companies have gained an opportunity to consider how the substance can be used. Coca-Cola already uses stevia in its products served in the global market. Coca-Cola Life, the flagship cola of the company, that uses stevia as a sweetener, is considered a health conscious alternative to the popular drink.