Stevia - Research into the dietary exposure of the Belgian Population to Steviol Glycosides

Last updated on 14-12-2022 by Pierre Daubresse
Project duration:
August 1, 2019
January 31, 2021

In short

Today, many ‘diet’ products are available on the Belgian market which are sweetened by low-calorie sugar alternatives, like steviol glycoside. Although the use of additives in food is strictly regulated by the European Commission, many consumers have concerns about the safety of food additives in their diet. Within this project, we examine the amount of products with steviol glycosides available on the Belgian market and their use levels. This will gain insight in the exposure of the Belgian population to steviol glycosides and the consecutive risk assessment.

Project description

This project evaluates the exposure of the Belgian population to the food additive steviol glycoside (E960). To this extend, we perform a comprehensive sampling of available food products on the Belgian market and we will analyse the samples in the laboratory to generate exact concentration data in food. We will then use these concentration data in combination with the daily intakes of the foods by the Belgian population to evaluate the daily intake. This intake will be compared to the Acceptable Daily Intake defined by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in order to assess any potential risk of E960.

The study encompasses a stepwise approach of dietary intake assessment. At first, the actual use levels will be based on the maximum permitted concentrations of steviol glycoside in food. The intake will be refined by the presence of the products on the Belgian market. A label survey and available databases can be used in this extent. In the next refinement of the intake assessment, the actual concentration levels of steviol glycosides in food will be used. 

As this research provides a refined and up-to-date dietary intake estimate, high consumers and the most significant food contributors are identified. This enables targeted policy approaches to address the possible health issues.

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