Monk fruit extract approved for ANZ as an intense sweetener

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th November 2018

INTENSE sweeteners made from monk fruit extract will soon be available for sale in Australia and New Zealand after an approval this week by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).

Monk fruit had only been permitted for use as a food and drink flavouring.

But this week the FSANZ approved it as a table top sweetener, an intense sweetener, made to be used as a teaspoon-for-teaspoon equivalent to white sugar.

“The available evidence presented to support the proposed uses of monk fruit extract, namely, as an intense sweetener in table-top sweeteners and other ready-to-consume foods, is clearly articulated in the application,” the FSANZ said.

“The evidence provides adequate assurance that the food additive, in the proposed form and usage levels, is technologically justified and has been demonstrated to be effective in achieving its stated purpose of an intense sweetener.

“There are appropriate specifications for the food additive as well as analytical methods for quantifying the food additive in food.”

Monk fruit many say avoids the bitter taste of some other sweeteners and has a heat tolerance allowing it to be used in baking when other sweeteners cannot.

Monk fruit extract is derived from the fruit of Siraitia grosvenorii, a perennial vine native to southern China. The sweet components of monk fruit extract are cucurbitane triterpene glycosides known collectively as mogrosides. The predominant component of commercial monk fruit extracts is mogroside V, which typically represents 30 to 40 per cent of the extract.

If there is no ministerial review is requested, the change to allow monk fruit as intense sweetener could become law around January 2019.

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