Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has approved SweeGen’s Bestevia Reb M Stevia Leaf Sweetener for use as a food additive.

SweeGen is a provider of non-GMO, nature-based stevia sweeteners.

The food standards agency gave the approval for use of the sweetener as a food additive in Amendment No 183 issued on 23 January.

FSANZ conducted a detailed safety evaluation, following which it amended the present requirements for Rebaudioside M under the Australia and New Zealand food standard code to include SweeGen’s Bestevia Reb M.

Bestevia Reb M, which is produced through a unique, stevia leaf-based bioconversion process, is a non-caloric, high-purity stevia sweetener offering a sugar-like taste that can replace up to 100% of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

“Reb M is the first of our stevia sweeteners to be approved, with further approvals in the pipeline.”

It can be used in beverages, dairy products, bakeries and nutritional foods, amongst many other applications.

SweeGen also provides stevia-leaf Reb D and its newest stevia sweetener, Bestevia e+, in other countries. These products help to reduce sugar intake whilst still offering a clean sweet taste.

The firm intends to work with local flavour houses to support sugar reduction projects locally.

The company claimed that there is a worldwide trend for clean labels that support the use of nature-based, non-GMO, sustainable ingredients, such as Bestevia Reb M.

SweeGen director of natural sweetener business Katharina Pueller said: “We are excited to now offer our non-GMO Project Verified, great-tasting stevia sweetener in Australia and New Zealand. Reb M is the first of our stevia sweeteners to be approved, with further approvals in the pipeline.

“Our in-house applications team can also help food and beverage companies find the perfect sweetener solution to make their consumer products more competitive while meeting consumer taste preference.”

In April 2018, SweeGen received approval from Peru’s General Directorate of Environmental Health (DIGESA) to sell its non-GMO Reb M and Reb D stevia leaf sweeteners in the country.