The 19 Studies

With hundreds of scientific studies attesting to stevia’s safety, as well as documented historical usage, the FDA cites vague safety concerns as the reason for denying stevia sweetener status. When the agency was asked by a journalist in 1997 for a list “of all studies FDA is aware of alleging a detrimental effect from stevia or steviosides,” it eventually came up with 19 studies. (FDA officials would not say if they had actually reviewed any of the “studies” mentioned, some of which were just brief reports and one a letter to the editor of a foreign journal). But this list, which the FDA supposedly issued to validate its misgivings, does raise new questions — only not about stevia.

One of the scientists whose work was cited several times in the FDA list is Mauro Alvarez, Ph.D., a respected Brazilian researcher and staunch stevia advocate. Upon being made aware of that fact, he responded with outrage to the way the FDA is presenting his work. (read entire letter from Alvarez below) “The only possible way to report that the results showed detrimental effects is by taking information out of context,” says Alvarez. “If this is the case one concludes that these FDA scientists are incompetent and irresponsible, or if not, they must belong to some sort of conspiracy group to carry on a sinister agenda against this plant with the objective to keep the plant away from American consumers by attributing to it safety issues that do not exist.”

Alvarez stands firm on the safety issue. “As a scientist with over 15 years researching the safety of stevia and of many other plants used as food or food ingredients, I can assure that our conclusions in these various studies indicate that stevia is safe for human consumption…as a sweetener.”

January 19, 1998
Mauro Alvarez
Parque Tecnologico Agro-Industrial do Oeste
Phone/Fax: (045) 227 1220
Cascavel-Pr. – Brasil

Recently I obtained a copy of a letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition…which I felt compelled to answer to get the facts straight. FDA’s letter to you is regarding a request you made from that agency to list studies that allege Stevia or Steviosides are detrimental to the health of consumers.

FDA (has) included in the list some of the studies in which I was the primary researcher and studies in which I participated as collaborator, and as a scientist with over 15 years researching the safety of Stevia and of many other plants used as food or food ingredients, I can assure that our conclusions in these various studies indicate that Stevia is safe for human consumption as per intended usage, that is, as a sweetener.

The first misunderstanding is the confusion between Stevia tea (grounded leaves) and the purified sweeteners as stevioside or rebaudiosides. Effects attributed to concentrated Stevia tea or impure extracts cannot be extended to pure sweeteners stevioside and rebaudioside.

The other equivocation found in their reply to your request is the admission that FDA’s scientists have not reviewed any of these studies. If they have not reviewed these studies why do they keep on reporting to the American public that the results of the studies show a detrimental effect?

Even if they have reviewed these studies, the only possible way to report that the results showed detrimental effects is by taking information out of context. If this is the case one concludes that these FDA scientists are incompetent and irresponsible, or if not, they must belong to some sort of conspiracy group to carry on a sinister agenda against this plant with the objective to keep it away from American consumers by attributing to it safety issues that do not exist.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. Mauro Alvarez Ph.D.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vernon Cox August 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm

There is no “Elliot Ness” in the FDA so they are too damned “touchable” They have made themselves a danger to the
American societies of both continents. The FDA needs a major overhaul to reestablish or reform their scientific methods and
processes. They need to practice “Health Sciences” and not be moved by stupid politicians and greedy/irresponsible
drug CEOs.

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Sue ross June 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm

There are side effects to struvia Google it lowered my blood pressure to dangerous levels

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