he U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a letter saying it has no questions about the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of Bestevia Rebaudioside D stevia leaf sweetener for use as a general-purpose, non-nutritive sweetener in foods and beverages.

Rancho Santa Margarita-based SweeGen, Inc., a nature-based sweetener company, makes Bestevia, a non-caloric sweetener. Westchester-based Ingredion serves as the exclusive distributor of Bestevia Reb D and Bestevia Reb M in all markets except SweeGen’s house accounts and China, where Ingredion is a non-exclusive distributor.

“Having received the no objection letter from the F.D.A., SweeGen and our valued distribution partner Ingredion are now able to support food and beverage manufacturers in the U.S. as they work to meet consumer demand for reduced- and no-sugar products made with our new, high-purity, great-tasting stevia sweetener,” said Katharina Pueller, director, natural sweetener business of SweeGen.

Ingredion will distribute Bestevia Reb D initially in the United States and subsequently in other countries as the sweetener gains additional regulatory approvals.

“The sugar-reduction trend is reshaping the way manufacturers formulate for sweet taste globally,” said Kurt Callaghan, marketing manager, sweetness innovation, Ingredion. “Bestevia Reb D stevia leaf sweetener gives manufacturers a new tool to reduce sugar, without sacrificing taste.”