Finally, stevia is allowed in food! That was just about what I thought, when EU allowed steviolglykosiden with E number 960th. The actual plant Stevia is still prohibited as food. The reason of the NFA is that there is evidence that it is completely safe for human consumption. But aspartame and azo colors go well plus a few hundred more?
Stevia is a plant originally from South America and has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years. In Latin, the name of the Stevia rebaudiana L, hence, Coca Cola got its name for its product Rebiana. It has also been used as a cure for diabetes type 2, it is said, to stimulate the production of insulin. If you use the plant in its origin, it is about 30 times sweeter than sugar, but steviolglykosiden is up to 300 times sweeter. In Japan, it has been used since the 70’s and there are also several companies producing steviolglykosid.
It’s fine to grow stevia yourself, there are seeds to buy or buy a plant in the summer at any garden shop. Though according NFA, you are not allowed to eat it. The taste is very similar to common sweetener and maybe a little bitter, but works great to use in place of sugar or anything with sugar. When you have stevia in powder form when you want to bake for example, a chocolate cake, it is possible therefore to reduce the sugar by about three quarters and then take a pinch of stevia. The sugar is needed for texture and taste carrier.
But the question remains whether steviolglykosid only is a new sweetener that is approved or if it really is harmless or even can be useful. Since Coca Cola along with giant Cargill has spent enormous sums on extracting extract Rebiana-which is another name for steviolglykosid, so it does not feel that it is particularly useful, but probably more damaging.
But as with aspartame it might turn up after many years.
But I still recommend using stevia which are classified as cosmetic, it can not be otherwise on the bottle. Or grow and dry yourself.