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Reduced Prices
Sweet-Switch Cookie Bites with Maltitol, 150g
Cookies produced by Belgian manufacturer Sweet-Switch with Chocolate Chips, sweetened with maltitol instead of sugar
It-No:    8539
Price:    3.75€ (2.50€/100g)
incl. VAT, excl. shipping
GBP:    £3.38

 
Chokay Peanut Rocks in Milk Chocolate, 110g
Peanuts in Belgian milk chocolate, without sugars added, sweetened with Maltitol and Steviolglycosides. Cocoa solids: 38% minimum.
It-No:    4732
Price:    2.90€ (2.64€/100g)
incl. VAT, excl. shipping
GBP:    £2.61

 
Stevia worldwide
In this section you can find information about the usage of Stevia rebaudiana in selected countries. The country booklets were prepared with the kind support of students of the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg. They can be read in PDF format or as simple browser versions. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read the PDF versions. You can download the newest version of this product for free by clicking here
Belgium
The epicentre of European stevia research

written by S. Stolzenburg

For many years, large amounts of stevia were imported into Belgium. For example, there was a import volume of nine tons of stevia leaves in the year 1989.1 This situation lasted until the mid-nineties. Then, stevia was forbidden by the Belgian government. In 1997, the sale of living stevia plants was forbidden, a ban on the sale of stevia leaves and stevioside followed in 2000. Nevertheless, an important centre of stevia research formed in Belgium. This institution is the "European Stevia Centrum" (ESC) at the Catholic University of Leuven.2

In particular the head of the ESC, a professor named Jan M.C. Geuns, rendered outstanding services to the research on the stevia plant. In cooperation with a man named Peter Grosser from Germany and Mónica Lorenzo of the Spanish chemical industry enterprise "Anagalide", he founded a non-profit organisation named "European Stevia Association" (EUSTAS) in 2006. Even though the organisation has its headquarters in Spain, nearly all its activities take place in Leuven. Mr. Geuns has filed many petitions to the European Union since 2006. Among them, there was an application for the legalization of stevia plants and dried stevia plants3, as well as an application for the legalization of steviol glycosides as food supplements4, both of them filed in 2007.

The EUSTAS does not only file petitions, it also tries to assist and coordinate "all activities focussing on research and health in relation to Stevia rebaudiana and related compounds".5 This includes the development of a European seal of quality for stevioside and the realisation of informative meetings and conferences. Therefore, the Catholic University of Leuven already staged three conferences which examined the topics "The safety of stevioside"6 (2006), "Steviol glycosides: technical and pharmacological aspects"7 (2008) and "Stevia in Europe"8 (2009).

Furthermore, the ESC tries to publish reports about researches. Several studies which showed the innocuousness of stevia and its components were published in cooperation with scientists of the ESC. These studies were conducted after stevia was administered to fledglings and pigs. When he was asked about the potential toxicity or mutagenicity of the components of stevia, Prof. Geuns said that the innocuousness would be "complete" if stevia is used as a sweetener, which means it would be used in relatively small amounts.2

At the moment, a major focus of the EUSTAS is the development of a control system for stevia and its components. This system is to be aimed at guaranteeing the purity and quality of stevia products so the consumers can be sure that the consumption of stevia will not harm their health. Since EUSTAS anticipates the European approval of stevia in the year 2010, the organisation recognizes this control system as strongly essential. By the time of the approval, everything should be prepared to create a fast supply of high-quality stevia products to the consumers.9
Bibliography
1 Anonymous [2008]: "Akademie Fresenius: Novel Food", article on the webpage of the "Free Stevia" society, Online source (accessed on 1st September 2009)
2 Geuns, Jan M.C. [2002]: untitled, Official Homepage of the European Stevia Centrum, Online source (accessed on 1st September 2009)
3 EUSTAS [2007a]: "Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plants and dried leaves as Novel Food. Summary of the Application and Specifications of the EUSTAS Quality Level", Barbastro, 2007
4 EUSTAS [2007b]: "Steviol glycosides as Food Additive. Summary of New Application by EUSTAS", Barbastro, 2007
5 EUSTAS [2006]: untitled, Official Homepage of the European Stevia Association", Online source (accessed on 1st September 2009)
6 Geuns, Jan M.C. [2006]: "The Safety of Stevioside", Heverlee, 2006
7 Geuns, Jan M.C. [2008]: "Steviol glycosides: technical and pharmalogical aspects", Heverlee, 2008
8 Geuns, Jan M.C. [2009]: "Stevia in Europe", Heverlee, 2009
9 Halliday, Jess [2009]: "EUSTAS prepares quality assurance scheme for stevia", in: "Food Navigator", 7th July 2009
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Recommendations
Chokay Roasted Peanuts in Milk Chocolate, 50g

It-No:    7523
Price:    1.99€
(3,98€ / 100g) incl. VAT, excl. shipping
GBP:    £1.79

Roasted peanuts covered with a layer of Belgian milk chocolate, without sugars added, sweetened with Maltitol and Steviolglycosides
 
Principessa's Baking Mix "Fairy Cake", 300g

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GBP:    £3.15

Almonds (25%) covered with a layer of Belgian milk chocolate (74%) and a touch of cinnamon (1%), without sugars added, sweetened with Maltitol and Steviolglycosides. Cocoa solids: 38% minimum.
 
Principessa's Baking Mix "Jungle Cake", 300g

It-No:    4753
Price:    6.95€
(2,32€ / 100g) incl. VAT, excl. shipping
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Baking mix for banana cake without added sugar, sweetened with erythritol
 
Sweet-Switch Milk Chocolate "2 Go", 25g Bar

It-No:    1396
Price:    1.11€
(4,44€ / 100g) incl. VAT, excl. shipping
GBP:    £1.00

A small "Sweet-Switch" chocolate bar, type Milk, with stevia instead of sugar. Cocoa solids: min. 39%.