centuries Stevia Rebaudiana has been used as a sweetener by the indigenous Guarani-tribes
of Paraguay. However, it was not until 1887 that the Swiss botanist Moises
S. Bertoni first described the plant. In 1905 Bertoni assigned it to the
genus Stevia (1905).
World War II (as from 1941), Stevia was cultivated in some milder parts of
England to create an alternative to sugar which was running out.
Unfortunately, this efforts failed due to the cool summers of England.
Subsequently, the plant fell into oblivion again.
late 60s, Japan took notice of Stevia (Yokoyama, 1977). After two
expeditions, 500.000 Stevia plants were brought from South America to Japan
(Ohira, 1987). The plants where cultivated at different areas of research
where several tests were conducted (Sumita, 1975). Nowadays, the vast
majority of non-caloric sweeteners on the Japanese market contain products
out of Stevia.
1999, an application for the approval of Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni as a
novel food (“Novel Food Regulation”) was rejected by the Scientific
Committee On Food (SCF) of the European Commission. The European Commission
justified the decision with the following reasoning: “'The data was not
sufficient to guarantee complete harmlessness to the health.”
there are numerous scientific studies which prove the harmlessness of Stevia
to the human body. Dr. Daniel Mowrey, director of the American Phytotherapy
Research Laboratory stated: “Few substances have ever yielded such
consistently negative results in toxicity trials as has Stevia. Almost
every toxicity test imaginable has been performed on Stevia extract or
Stevioside at one time or another. The results are always negative.”
2008, JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) has
established an ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) value of 4 mg/kg body weight.
In keeping with the recommended quality standards of JECFA concerning
Stevia extracts (at least 95 % Steviol Glycosides) and the ADI-value,
Stevia is a completely safe food additive.
2008, Stevia extracts have been approved as sweeteners for food in Australia,
New Zeeland, Switzerland, Franc and the USA.
present time, 16 million people consume Stevia worldwide each day.
Currently, the acreage of Stevia is approximately 30.000 ha, but will rise
significantly once the European Commission has approved Stevia as a food