Previously ‘only confectionery with no added sugar’ could use stevia (E 960).
But the European Commission extended approved usage by amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 on February 27.
Under the revision, any ‘energy-reduced’ hard & soft confectionery, licorice, marzipan or nougat will be able to use steviol glycosides in the EU.
‘Energy-reduced’ applies to food with an energy value reduced by at least 30% compared with the original food or a similar product.
This will mean confectioners can combine stevia with sugar in these confectionery products, provided the product is ‘energy-reduced’.
The confectionery categories covered by the new rule are:
- Breath freshening microsweets (at maximum level of 2 000 mg/kg).
- Hard confectionery (candies and lollies)
- Soft confectionery (chewing candies, fruit gums and foam sugar products/marshmallows)
- Marzipan (at maximum level of 350 mg/kg)
- Strongly flavored freshening throat pastilles (at maximum level of 670 mg/kg)
Chocolate was not among the list of energy-reduced confections.
The revised regulation will enter force on March 20, 2017.
Steviol glycosides were approved as a novel food in the EU in December 2011. Confectionery products such as Cavalier chocolate, Wrigley’s Extra Mints and some Haribo products have used the sweetener in Europe since the approval.