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EFSA opinion on rebaudioside D as food additive: towards a questioning of the authorization?

The EFSA panel on food additives and flavouring has just published a new opinion on the safety of enzymatically produced steviol glycosides (E960c), and notably on rebaudioside D produced via enzymatic bioconversion of purified stevia leaf extract.

Due to the recent authorization of rebaudioside M (E960c(i)), the EFSA panel considered that an update of specifications for rebaudioside D was necessary. No toxicological concern has been highlighted by EFSA. However, the available data cannot exclude the risk that residual DNA from the production strain may remain in the final product. The resistance gene to kanamycin is notably questioned, since it may propagate in microbiota and transfer to pathogenic bacteria the possibility to resist to this antibiotic. Even if kanamycin is not used in human medicine and is reserved to veterinary medicine, the risk highlighted by EFSA may lead to a revision of the authorization of rebaudioside D as food additive in Europe.

EFSA FAF Panel (EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings), Younes M, Aquilina G, Engel K-H, Fowler PJ, Frutos Fernandez MJ, F€urst P, Gurtler R, Gundert-Remy U, Husøy T, Manco M, Mennes W, Moldeus P, Passamonti S, Shah R, Waalkens-Berendsen I, Wright M, Barat Baviera JM, Degen G, Herman L, Leblanc J-C, Wolfle D, Aguilera J, Giarola A, Smeraldi C, Vianello G and Castle L, 2022. Scientific Opinion on the safety of the proposed amendment of the specifications for enzymatically produced steviol glycosides (E 960c): Rebaudioside D produced via enzymatic bioconversion of purified stevia leaf extract. EFSA Journal 2022;20(5):7291.