When are we really talking about stevia?

The annual meeting of CODEX held in February of this year (2018) settled the directives  for labeling those sweeteners identical to those produced by the stevia plant but synthesized through genetically modified yeasts (GMO). In particular CODEX determined that those extracts produced by fermentation or modified enzymatically should be identified with different INS ( E ) numbers  different from those produced by the Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni plant. While an overall category INS  (E)960 will group all steviol glycosides INS  (E)960a  will be used for stevia plant synthesized glycosides with INS (E)960c for GMO yeast synthesized glycosides and further categories should be defined for enzymatically produced glycosides (whenever applications by manufacturers are submitted) which are not directly extracted from the plant. 

Juan Carlos Fischer the President of the American Federation of Stevia celebrated this news“We think this is excellent news for the benefit of the producers of stevia extracts and their crops, as it is a matter of common sense. Would it be conceivable to name a product as milk when there are no cows involved (dairy organizations are aggressively opposed to any hint, and even to the marketing on nearby shelves of these products) or tequila without agave or wine that does not come from grapes? Just as consumers and producers of these products do not accept misleading marketing, we believe it’s not conceivable to speak of Stevia, to make use of stevia leaves pictures or to suggest this name when the origins differ from the plant”. This has nothing to do with product quality or safety which is out of doubt but it has to do with consumer expectations on the natural origin of stevia.