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FDA Threatened Celestial Tea Company over Use of Natural Sweetener Stevia

The FDA has sent a warning letter to the Hain Celestial Group, instructing the natural and organic food producer to relabel certain products that contain the sweetener stevia. The letter concerned the Celestial Zingers To Go tea and drink mix products, which the FDA charges are being labeled and marketed as food products, even though an ingredient they contain -- the stevia herb -- has not been approved for use in foods in the United States.

Stevia, derived from a South American plant, has become popular as a sweetener because it has 300 times the sweetness of table sugar but almost no impact on blood glucose levels. Its taste is said to have a slower onset than that of sugar and to last longer.

Stevia has been approved for use in food and beverage products in a number of countries, including Brazil, Canada, China and Japan, but to date the FDA has only approved it as an ingredient in dietary supplements.

In response to the warning letter, Hain Celestial Group removed the term "iced tea mix" from all labels of the products in question, and made the words "herbal supplement" much more prominent.

In light of the increasing popularity of stevia and the fact that companies like Hain Celestial have apparently been trying to get around regulations of its use, the FDA said that it expects to soon receive a petition to approve the sweetener for use in foods. Reportedly, both the Coca-Cola Company and Cargill are interested in producing stevia-sweetened products, with Coca-Cola having filed 24 patent applications related to the sweetener.

But the FDA said that current information is not sufficient to prove stevia safe as an ingredient for food.

"Data and information necessary to support the safe use have been lacking," the FDA's letter to Hain Celestial read. "In fact, literature reports have raised safety concerns about the use of stevia, including concerns about control of blood sugar and the effects of reproductive, cardiovascular and renal systems."

Consumer health advocate Mike Adams, a long-time supporter of stevia, disagrees. "The FDA has been stalling on stevia approval for well over a decade in order to protect the profits of aspartame," Adams said. "Stevia is safely used around the world by hundreds of millions of consumers with absolutely no problems, while aspartame is tied to seizures, blindness, headaches and other serious neurological problems. The FDA once ordered the destruction of books containing stevia recipes. That's how desperate this criminal organization is to protect the profit racket of aspartame," Adams concluded.

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kwkslvr
post Feb 6 2008, 09:09 PM



Nothing the FDA does is to protect citizens. Special interests, yes, people? Nope.

diana
post Feb 6 2008, 09:23 PM


I'm reading your post while eating organic yoghurt with nuts and seeds, sweetened with stevia. Sweetened? Oops! No, I have added the 'supplement' stevia to it. Special interests (mega ag and big pharma, especially) have prevented stevia being presented as a sweetener.

Actually we sell a tea at work with stevia in it. Wonder how they can do that??? Hmmmm. --diana

Life shall Appea...
post Feb 6 2008, 10:47 PM


QUOTE (kwkslvr @ Feb 6 2008, 05:09 PM) *
Nothing the FDA does is to protect citizens. Special interests, yes, people? Nope.


You got it kwkslvr,

fransita
post Feb 12 2008, 05:12 PM


its truly horrendous that the fda approves aspartame for consumption when the studies prove how disastrous it is to a body. anyone with children ~ please do not let them have any foods with aspartame
their little brains and bodies are so susceptible to this very dangerous chemical. adults keep away also!
stevia is a safe plant that grows out of the dirt.
be informed ~ be healthy

celticbuttafly
post Feb 12 2008, 05:20 PM


I just finished reading a book entitled "World Without Cancer" that details how the FDA has continually suppressed and demonized herbs, vitamins, and other natural substances in favor of dangerous chemicals and synthetic or engineered substances... it's truly scary. It makes me so angry that people who claim to have American's best interests at heart are really (at the top, at least) corrupt officials in league with the pharma companies and finpols whose primary goal is to make money and extend the reach of government into controlling every single area of our lives. The FDA's time is over - they need to completely abolish the agency.

Julio
post Feb 12 2008, 06:14 PM


QUOTE (celticbuttafly @ Feb 12 2008, 03:20 PM) *
I just finished reading a book entitled "World Without Cancer" that details how the FDA has continually suppressed and demonized herbs, vitamins, and other natural substances in favor of dangerous chemicals and synthetic or engineered substances... it's truly scary. It makes me so angry that people who claim to have American's best interests at heart are really (at the top, at least) corrupt officials in league with the pharma companies and finpols whose primary goal is to make money and extend the reach of government into controlling every single area of our lives. The FDA's time is over - they need to completely abolish the agency.


This is an obvious misuse of our government that has been a constant danger, since it was formed. We need regulations that really protect us and a government that works to protect our interests. There is too much specialized information for individuals to keep on top of everything, much less the new stuff that comes along. The FDA has been hijacked and we need to get it back so that it can do this. Citizen participation and oversight are key to keeping democracy alive!

deetrust
post Feb 12 2008, 06:53 PM


I am constantly amazed by the decisions that the FDA and USDA have made.
Are we truly only interested in money instead of the well-being of people? This type of behavior only reinforces my conviction on buying organic foods.

diana
post Feb 12 2008, 08:46 PM


QUOTE (Julio @ Feb 12 2008, 06:14 PM) *
Citizen participation and oversight are key to keeping democracy alive!


biggrin.gif

diana
post Feb 12 2008, 10:21 PM


What's really interesting to me is that I've spent the last hour trying to get an accurate ingredients list for a variety of teas, many of which are sweetened. It looks like there's no requirement to post ingredients on teas, because I cannot find 'em anywhere (including on the large bags we get at work). Word of (managerial) mouth is that they are sweetened with stevia, but it's not a legal food ingredient (although nutri-seizure is???). So, are they slipping Acesulfame K in? Or Splenda? Or a bit of stevia and some sugar, too? Will try the tea with a BG meter handy, and I should know, but it amazes me how little info is required on labels.

Maybe Celestial teas shoulda not told? No, wait, I WANT to know ingredients! I just don't want Monsanto ($ from nutri-seizure/ forcing stevia off the food-ingredient market) to keep controlling them. Too weird! --diana (who still loves Washington state for its insistence on food and fabric labels!)

monelle
post Feb 13 2008, 12:47 AM


The FDA is obviously staffed by people who sit on their brains and whose hands are in someones' deep pockets. They approved pharmaceuticals that have killed people and continue to do so. It is a reflection of this administration which seems to do whatever they can to cause more harm to as many people as possible while depriving us of life saving products. It is incredible that it has existed this long and that so many of us have surived their incompetence.