FSANZ calls for submissions on a new sweetener
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has called for submissions on an application to use monk fruit (or luo han guo) extract as a sweetener.
Saraya hopes to amend the Food Standards Code Schedule 15 ‘Substances that may be used as food additives’ and Schedule 8 ‘Food additive names and code numbers (for statement of ingredients)’ to permit the use of luo han guo extract as a food additive, specifically as an intense sweetener.
Derived from the fruit of Siraitia grosvenorii, a vine native to Southern China, the extract contains a higher concentration of the fruit’s sweet components. It is about 250 to 400 times sweeter than sucrose but does not have the bitter aftertaste of other intense sweeteners.
Commercial-scale production of luo han guo extract began in the 1990s for the Japanese market, and it is currently approved as an additive in Japan, China, Canada and the US. The risk report stated, “No adverse effects on human health or development associated with monk fruit extract consumption has been reported in the populations of any of those countries.”
According to FSANZ Chief Executive Officer Mark Booth, the safety assessment concluded that “there are no public health or safety issues related to the use of monk fruit extract as a sweetener”.
Saraya suggested its approval could bring a number of advantages to Australia, including: increasing competition through marketplace diversity; providing more international trade opportunities, particularly with China; and providing new market opportunities for Australian- and New Zealand-based businesses, especially current producers of luo han guo extract-containing products.
The deadline for submissions closes at 6 pm (Canberra time) on 31 August 2018.
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