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Coca-Cola to Launch Stevia-Sweetened Drinks in Violation of FDA Regulations?

By Mike Adams, December 15, 2008 | Key concepts: Stevia, Coca-Cola and GRAS

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Coca-Cola plans to launch a calorie-free, stevia-sweetened drink this week. Why is that news? Because stevia has never been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has kept stevia off the GRAS list of approved food and beverage ingredients for well over a decade (to protect aspartame profits, critics charge).

If Coca-Cola moves ahead with its plan to launch a stevia-sweetened diet drink, it would be doing so in direct violation of FDA regulations that currently prohibit stevia from being used as an ingredient in food and beverages (stevia can only be sold as a "dietary supplement," not as an ingredient in food). This means one of the following must be true:

Possibility #1 - Coca-Cola is working with the FDA, and there will be a surprise announce of stevia's GRAS approval timed to coincide with Coca-Cola's launch of its new stevia-sweetened drinks.

Possibility #2 - Coca-Cola is NOT working with the FDA, and it plans to launch its stevia drink in direct violation of the FDA's rules regarding food and beverage ingredients.

If Possibility #2 is true, then the FDA will be faced with a dilemma: It must either confiscate all of Coca-Cola's stevia drinks or it will lose any remaining credibility as a food and beverage regulator. Why? Because it has threatened smaller stevia companies for years, even confiscating imported stevia products and ordering the destruction of stevia recipe books. If it now allows Coca-Cola to sell stevia drinks even when they are using an illegal ingredient, it would indicate blatant favoritism of large corporations over small ones.

And that would mean the FDA regulations are meaningless. The only thing that matters is the size of your corporation and how much money can be made from the FDA looking the other way. (Sound familiar?)

If Coca-Cola proceeds with the launch of its stevia drinks, this could be a defining moment for the FDA: Will it finally legalize stevia? If not, will it enforce its own GRAS rules, or will it instead allow a powerful corporation to sell "illegal" products that violate FDA regulations?

NaturalNews will keep you updated on this story as it develops. We're hoping to see the FDA make a surprise announcement that stevia is GRAS approved -- a positive development for consumers.

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Coca-Cola to Launch Stevia-Sweetened Drinks in Violation of FDA Regulations?

From Online.wsj.com: Coke, Pepsi and companies they are working with say their sweetener -- called Truvia by Coke and PureVia by Pepsi -- is more highly purified than the versions of stevia used in those tests, and that new data have been submitted to the FDA. Cargill Inc., which teamed up with Coke, and Whole Earth Sweetener Co., which is working with Pepsi, say research they sponsored and submitted to the FDA in May found it to be safe.... more

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