Safety of Stevia
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Stephen Radmacher
Posted on: April 17, 2005

After discussing [the safety of stevia] with your wife yesterday, Ann forwarded these links to give to you.

[Forwarded by Ann Chang:]

Here are two of the links that may interest the Richters. You may want to forward this to them.

There are too many articles, and you can find arguments for both sides.

However, many of the articles your read on link do mention that Stevia is used in Japan, China and Taiwan -- I DO KNOW for a fact that it is NO LONGER approved as an additive in foods in China and Taiwan -- they are banned.

http://www.cspinet.org/new/stevia.html

http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/food/stevia/

Thank you for sending the links. I am aware of the health concerns about stevia but I am not convinced that there is much to be worried about. The links in the two articles typify what I mean: most of the negative links are in the vein of official declarations of "insufficent data to establish daily doses" and of "possible (but still unproved) mutagenicity in humans". The main study on mutagenicity found evidence at very high intake rates, far higher than normal. Now, weigh that against hundreds of years of traditional use in South America and decades of use in Japan. Then, add the obvious vested interest of the sugar lobby, especially in the U.S. (where its influence in Washington is legendary). Taking all this into consideration, I can’t help to conclude that stevia is a safe product, or at least presents no worse a potential hazard to human health than, say, salt or pepper.

Concerning stevia bans in the Orient, we published a series of articles about the ban in Hong Kong in May of 2002:

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./HL/20020501-1.html

If you go through those articles, you will see that, again, we have little more than official declarations of "inadequate data" plus references to some mythical WHO study on toxicity.

About the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the source of the first linked article, I find that that organization seems rarely to have anything good to say about herbs. If you believe their worldview then all herbs are unsafe.

On another note; our miracle fruit is hanging on and now we have a better feel for taking care of it, this summer it should do well we hope!

Glad to hear that. I would love to see the plant one day.

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