Brussels, Belgium, 20 January 2012
International Stevia Council Voted Best of 2011
"We are delighted to receive this award and the recognition by our peers in the industry. For a trade association which has only existed since October 2010, this is a major achievement. Now we hope that this vote will make more stakeholders aware of the International Stevia Council and our Proficiency Testing Program (PTP), which enables participants to benchmark the performance of their methods and analytical standards in a statistically relevant and blind testing scheme. Any company producing stevia extracts, manufacturing products sweetened by stevia or analysing steviol glycosides’ content is welcome to participate in the PT Program", - Maria Teresa Scardigli, the Council's Executive Director
Steviol glycosides or purified stevia extracts are no-calorie sweeteners derived from the Stevia plant - a small shrub native to South America. As a member of the largest family of plants, Asteraceae or the "sunflower family", stevia is related to herbs and vegetables such as chamomile, tarragon, endive and lettuce. Stevia extracts are now found in hundreds of food products around the world, including teas, soft drinks, juices, yogurt, soymilk, cereals, salad dressings, and table top sweeteners.
Leading global food safety experts, including the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have established that steviol glycosides are safe for all populations to consume and steviol glycosides are a suitable sweetening option for people with diabetes.