FDA CRACKS DOWN ON NATURAL HERBAL SWEETENER, STEVIA
The FDA, under pressure from the powerful sugar and artificial sweetener lobby, has issued a warning letter to Celestial Seasonings for using a popular natural sweetener in some of its teas. The letter indicates the FDA classifies the herb stevia as "unsafe", even though it is a main staple sweetener in countries like China and Japan and has been used without negative health effects by indigenous people for at least 400 years. In the FDA's letter to Celestial Seasonings, the agency aggressively condemns the use of the herb, noting that "enforcement action may include seizure of violative products". The FDA claims no evidence has been provided to the agency regarding the herb's safety, but federal records reveal the FDA has received over a thousand scientific studies regarding stevia, and all but one of them verify the safety of the herb. In sharp contrast, nearly half of the studies provided to the FDA regarding the artificial sweetener aspartame, previously owned by Monsanto, indicate serious health concerns, yet it is one of the most commonly used (and one of the most profitable) sweeteners in the U.S. The OCA has also verified the FDA has strengthened enforcement of stevia imports at the borders. Last week, the agency updated a document that mandates detainment of imported food products containing stevia.
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