Brussels, Belgium, 3 May 2011
The International Stevia Council (ISC) announced today the launch of an independent Proficiency Testing Program (PTP) for stevia products.
At the moment, there are a wide variety of analytical methods and reference standards being used within the industry to determine steviol glycoside content. Importantly, the quality of the analytical methods and reference standards is not consistent across the industry. This has resulted in inaccurate and inconsistent representation of product composition and purity levels.
In order to protect market viability of all stevia based products, the Stevia industry needs to address the challenge of ensuring that analytical methods and standards employed are appropriate and also meet minimum levels of accuracy.
The Proficiency Testing Program will allow participants to benchmark performance of their methods, analytical standards and analysts’ competency in a statistically relevant, blind testing scheme managed in accordance with international quality standards. Initially, samples will be limited to stevia-based sweeteners that comply with JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives) purity specifications (not less than 95% of the total of the nine named steviol glycosides, on a dry basis). Successful proficiency testing programs exist in numerous industries, including corn-based sweeteners, sugar, food and botanicals industries.
The International Stevia Council has selected LGC Standards Limited as the vendor to administer the Proficiency Testing Program.