A new sweetener has been approved by the European Union

A new E will make its way onto product labels in stores. It refers to glycosylated steviol glycosides, or simply E 960d. This is the new sweetener that has been approved by the European Union and will be used in the production of various foods, ranging from canned goods, chips, desserts, ice creams, marmalades, and even chewing gum. Glycosylated steviol glycosides will be primarily used in products with no added sugar and low calorie content. The sweetener is even 200 times sweeter than sucrose.

  1. What are glycosylated steviol glycosides?
  2. Maximum daily intake of glycosylated steviol glycosides
  3. In what products can E 960d be used?
  4. E 960d: green light from the European Union
  5. Glycosylated steviol glycosides: health risks

 

 

  1. What are glycosylated steviol glycosides?

Glycosylated steviol glycosides are a mixture of larger steviol glycosides formed by glucosylation of steviol glycosides extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant. The mixture consists of glucosylated steviol glycosides and residual parent steviol glycosides from Stevia leaves. Glycosylated steviol glycosides are produced by treating steviol glycosides extracted from Stevia leaves and suitable for human consumption with Cyclomaltodextrin glucanotransferase (EC 2.4.1.19) derived from a non-genetically modified strain of Anoxybacillus caldiproteolyticus St-88. The enzyme transfers glucose units from starch to the steviol glycosides. The resulting material is heated and treated with activated carbon to remove the enzyme, then passed through an adsorption/desorption resin to remove residual hydrolyzed starch (dextrin), followed by purification and preparation of the final product through processes that may include decolorization, concentration, and spray drying.

Glycosylated steviol glycosides are produced through enzymatic bioconversion using cyclomaltodextrin glucanotransferase, which catalyzes the transfer of glucose from starch to enriched mixtures of one or more individual steviol glycosides from purified Stevia Rebaudiana leaf extracts. They consist of a mixture of glucosylated steviol glycosides, containing 1-20 additional glucose units attached to the parent steviol glycosides. They have an improved sweetness profile compared to other authorized sweeteners, including steviol glycosides from Stevia (E 960a).

 

  1. Maximum daily intake of glycosylated steviol glycosides

The European Commission has approved the use of several sweeteners based on steviol glycosides over the years. These include:

  • E 960a: Steviol glycosides from Stevia
  • E 960c: Enzymatically produced steviol glycosides
  • E 960d: Glycosylated steviol glycosides

The sweetener is available in the form of powder, tablets, or liquid. The European Union (EU) added E960 to the list of authorized sweeteners starting from 2012. In the Codex Alimentarius, this ingredient is assigned the E number E960 and falls under the category of harmless food additives.

The maximum permitted daily intake is approximately 12 mg/kg of body weight. Glycosylated steviol glycosides, specifically E 960d, are most commonly found as a white to light yellow powder. They are approximately 100 to 200 times sweeter than sucrose.

 

  1. In what products can E 960d be used?

The foods in which glycosylated steviol glycosides or E 960d can be used are diverse. They range from savory products and pickles to sweets such as marmalades and ice cream. Additionally, it can be purchased in the form of tablets, liquid solution, or powder. Here is a list of products where glycosylated steviol glycosides can be used as an ingredient:

  • Low-energy or sugar-free products:
  • Flavored fermented dairy products
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit-based spreads
  • Cocoa and chocolate products
  • Confectionery products
  • Chewing gum
  • Decorations, coatings, and fillings (excluding fruit fillings)
  • Fruit nectars
  • Flavored beverages
  • Coffee, tea, and herbal infusions-based beverages
  • Low-energy preparations:
  • Fruit and vegetable preparations (excluding compotes)
  • Breakfast cereals with over 15% fiber content and at least 20% bran content
  • Soups and broths
  • Jams, jellies, and marmalades
  • Unsweetened chestnut puree
  • Fruit or vegetable spreads
  • Sweets and candies
  • Mentholated lozenges
  • Strongly flavored breath-freshening throat tablets
  • Sweet and sour preserves of fruits and vegetables:
  • Fruits and vegetables in vinegar, oil, or brine
  • Fine bakery products
  • Sweet and sour preserves and marinades of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks
  • Liquid tabletop sweeteners
  • Powder tabletop sweeteners
  • Tablet tabletop sweeteners
  • Mustard
  • Sauces
  • Foods for special medical purposes
  • Meal replacement dietetic foods for weight control
  • Non-alcoholic beer or beer with an alcohol content not exceeding 1.2% by volume
  • Alcoholic beverages, including spirits with less than 15% alcohol
  • Snacks based on potatoes, cereals, flour, or starch
  • Processed nuts with shells

 

Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Union, maximum permitted levels are established for each category of food additives, including glycosylated steviol glycosides or E 960d, to ensure they do not pose a risk to health. These maximum levels are set based on scientific evaluations and considerations of safety. Compliance with these maximum levels is essential to ensure the safe use of additives in food products. It’s important for manufacturers to adhere to these regulations and for consumers to follow recommended consumption guidelines to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

 

  1. E 960d: green light from the European Union

As mentioned before, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluated the safety of glycosylated steviol glycosides and issued an opinion on December 15, 2021. The EFSA considered that the metabolism of glycosylated steviol glycosides is sufficiently similar to that of already authorized steviol glycosides, and therefore, the previously evaluated toxicological data regarding steviol glycosides (E 960a) were taken into account in support of their safety as a food additive. The enzyme cyclomaltodextrin glucanotransferase, derived from a non-genetically modified strain of Anoxybacillus caldiproteolyticus and intended for use in the production of modified steviol glycosides, does not raise safety concerns under the intended conditions of use, based on the data provided to the EFSA. The EFSA concluded that there are no safety concerns related to the use of glycosylated steviol glycosides as a food additive for the same proposed uses and levels of use as steviol glycosides (E 960a–960c) used as sweeteners.

Therefore, it is necessary to authorize the food additive “glycosylated steviol glycosides” (E 960d) as a sweetener in the food categories where steviol glycosides (E 960a–960c) are currently authorized, and at the same maximum levels. The specifications for the food additive glycosylated steviol glycosides should be included in Regulation (EU) No. 231/2012, as it is included for the first time in the Union list of food additives provided for in Annex II to Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008.

 

  1. Glycosylated steviol glycosides: health risks

The European Union would never approve a food additive that poses a danger to the health of its citizens. However, like any other food additive, consuming glucosylated steviol glycosides in excessively high amounts, consistently over the long term, could have negative effects on the body.

Compared to regular sugar or other sweeteners, glucosylated steviol glycosides have no calories or carbohydrates. Therefore, the sweetener should minimally impact blood sugar levels, which could be a fundamental advantage.

From a pharmacological perspective, steviol glycosides are said to have numerous benefits. They can have the following effects:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anticarcinogenic
  • Antidiabetic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant
  • Blood pressure reducer

However, long-term consumption of glucosylated steviol glycosides could have the following unpleasant side effects on the body:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Type 2 diabetes

It is not recommended for diabetics, as it may cause hypoglycemia and hypotension when consumed with medications used to treat these conditions. Additionally, it may trigger anaphylactic reactions in children with atopic eczema, allergic rhinitis, and asthma.

 

Now, when you see the label of a dessert, a juice, a canned product, or a pack of mint candies, you will know what the additive E 960d is. Glucosylated steviol glycosides have been approved by the European Union through an amendment to Annex II of Regulation (EC) No. 1333/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council, as well as the Annex to Regulation (EU) No. 231/2012 of the Commission, regarding the use of glucosylated steviol glycosides as a sweetener. To make it easier for you, use the InfoCons app to find out the contents of the products you consume and whether you are reaching the recommended daily limit for food additives.

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