On the Street: All-natural Sweetener Gets GRAS

February 24/Drug Week -- BioVittoria, a producer and processor of monk fruit (luo han guo), has received official notification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that its Fruit-Sweetness branded monk fruit concentrate is GRAS (generally recognized as safe) as a sweetener and flavor enhancer. Fruit-Sweetness is the first and to date only all-natural zero-calorie fruit concentrate sweetener to be GRAS notified by FDA.

"Monk fruit has been a traditional food in South East Asia for hundreds of years, but the existing technology for cultivating and processing the fruit could not provide the volume, product consistency and taste quality needed in a natural sweetener for the food and beverage industry." says BioVittoria's CEO David Thorrold. He says the FDA no objections letter is the final step in bringing monk fruit into the mainstream: "This final piece of regulatory compliance is what the large food and beverage companies have been waiting for."

The unique zero-calorie sweetness of monk fruit concentrate comes from naturally occurring compounds in the fruit that are up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. This means that just 1/4g of Fruit-Sweetness can replace 8tsp of sugar.

From the March 15, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition