FDA Cracks Down on Natural Herbal Sweetener, Stevia


The FDA, under pressure from the powerful sugar and artificial
sweetener lobby, has issued a warning letter to Celestial Seasonings
for using a popular natural sweetener in some of its teas. The
letter indicates the FDA classifies the herb stevia as "unsafe",
even though it is a main staple sweetener in countries like China
and Japan and has been used without negative health effects by
indigenous people for at least 400 years. In the FDA’s letter
to Celestial Seasonings, the agency aggressively condemns the
use of the herb, noting that "enforcement action may include
seizure of violative products". The FDA claims no evidence
has been provided to the agency regarding the herb’s safety, but
federal records reveal the FDA has received over a thousand scientific
studies regarding stevia, and all but one of them verify the safety
of the herb. In sharp contrast, nearly half of the studies provided
to the FDA regarding the artificial sweetener aspartame, previously
owned by Monsanto, indicate serious health concerns, yet it is
one of the most commonly used (and one of the most profitable)
sweeteners in the U.S. The OCA has also verified the FDA has strengthened
enforcement of stevia imports at the borders. Last week, the agency
updated a document that mandates detainment of imported food products
containing stevia.
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