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Another Chance For Stevia?

Written by Wellness Club on December 17, 2008 – 3:26 pm -

Opinion by Nurse Mark

Stevia, a naturally sweet herb used safely and effectively for thousands of years by South American indigenous peoples for thousands of years, has gotten a rough ride from the FDA. Jackbooted FDA "swat teams" have raided warehouses and health food stores, confiscated products, even confiscated books that contained recipes that included stevia as a sweetener.

Since stevia is a naturally-occurring plant it cannot be patented, and it is widely felt that the FDA’s persecution of this innocuous, sweet herb has been carried out at the direction of the artificial sweetener industry in order to protect their toxic but patentable (and profitable) offerings.

Yes, the future has looked grim for stevia, but there may be a ray of hope on the horizon…

You may have noticed the headline recently:

Coke to unveil natural diet drink in U.S.: report – Yahoo! News

It seems that the American Industrial giants Coca Cola and Pepsico are listening to the demands of consumers for less toxic soft drinks (or perhaps heeding the advice of their corporate lawyers, who must be warning them about the possibility of class-action lawsuits – Vioxx-style), and they have begun investigating stevia as a natural alternative to toxic artificial sweeteners. But it appears that even these giants know what they are up against: they appear to realize that it will not be a simple matter of just adding a bit of herbal stevia to sweeten their offerings – oh, no!

You see, it is highly unlikely that the FDA will ever admit that it has been wrong about stevia, or back down from their current position on the herb. Certainly not so long as it is a natural and therefore non-patentable substance!

So, what’s a company to do? Do what the drug companies do – take a natural, harmless substance into the lab and figure out how to modify, concentrate, purify, synthesize or otherwise alter this poor harmless herb until it is un-natural, and therefore patentable!

Once it has been transformed into a patented compound, Voila! It can be "submitted" to the FDA along with all the necessary bribes – er, fees – that will be required to obtain protection – er, approval – for this new high-tech patented sweetener.

What will this mean for stevia? My guess is that this new sweetener, some synthesized form or modification of natural stevia, will give the FDA heartburn – because as natural Red Rice Yeast is to synthetic statin drugs, so will stevia be to Truvia or PureVia, or whatever other name some MegaCorporation decides to give their patented version of this natural substance.

It will be obvious that the natural form of this substance is, as has been maintained all along by proponents of stevia, safe.

If the FDA continues to declare stevia to be unsafe, then the new, modified sweetener must also be unsafe. If the new modified stevia-based substance is safe, then isn’t the natural stevia also safe? Could this be an uncomfortable "Catch-22" for the mighty FDA?

It will be fun to watch this one unfold, and to watch the FDA wriggle and squirm as they try to satisfy Big Business’ demands for an ingredient that will satisfy their customers, while they simultaneously try to avoid admitting that they have been wrong about stevia…

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Posted in Diabetes, Drugs and Alternatives, Family Health, Health Freedom, Nutrition and Health, Opinion, Uncategorized | No Comments »

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