Saturday, June 2, 2007

Oh, Rebiana

Now here's a scoop for you--Cargill, an "agribusiness," and Coca-Cola have filed 24 patent applications for a new artificial sweetener made from the herb Stevia.

I've read a lot about Stevia over the years but have never tried it--isn't it a little bitter?

I like the idea of this, since theoretically it would involve fewer chemicals in the diet sodas I can't seem to give up.

Anyway, this little article is short on details but does say the product's tentative name is Rebiana. And how, I ask, do they come up with names like that? At least "Splenda" and "Equal" have names that are supposed to conjure up "splendid" and "equal to sugar."

Bad news for us here in the USA: since Stevia is only approved here as a food supplement and not a food additive, the first products are likely to be outside the US. Among the countries recognizing Stevia as a food additive are Japan, Brazil and China. What about you readers out there in Great Britain or France?

However, Cargill is thought to be working on clinical trials of the sweetener and planning to use the results to petition the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) for permission to use rebiana as a food additive in the US.

Stevia is a member of the daisy family, and the extract is said to have up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar.

By the way, I'm out of town for a few days. Look for me back and blogging on Wednesday!

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