Saturday, 28 July 2007

Steviol glycosides in food

Risk in brief

  1. The Joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) had evaluated the safety of stevioside in 1998. Owing to shortcomings and incompleteness of the research findings, JECFA did not make any conclusion regarding its safety at that time.
  2. JECFA in 2004 re-evaluated the safety of stevioside and other steviol glycosides and concluded that steviol glycosides did not demonstrate any genotoxic and carcinogenic potential from available evidence.
  3. JECFA in 2004 allocated a temporary acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 2 mg/kg bw for steviol glycosides, expressed as steviol. Dietary intake of steviol glycosides at level below this safety reference value is unlikely to cause adverse effects in humans in general.
  4. However, JECFA noted the potential pharmacological effects of stevioside in patients with hypertension or with type-2 diabetes (or noninsulin-dependent diabetes) and raised concern whether these pharmacological effects could lead to adverse effects in some individuals (e.g. those with hypotension or diabetes). JECFA therefore considered that more scientific data is required for further evaluation in 2007.
  5. In June 2007, JECFA considered some newly available data and opined that they did not raise additional concerns regarding the safety of steviol glycosides, but the results of ongoing clinical studies would be essential for further evaluation of the substances. The temporary ADI was therefore extended until 2008, pending submission of the results of the ongoing studies.
Source: Centre for Food Safety, Risk in Brief Nº 10 (July 2007): Stevioside in Food