It had to happen eventually. The sugar industry and artificial sweetener industry were no doubt dreading this day, but it has finally come. As of December 2008, the FDA has "no objection" to stevia. They didn't take it further and give it the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) rating, but "no objection" means companies can now use it without labeling it as a "natural supplement" and stores can carry it in the sweetener section instead of the supplement section (some stores were already doing this anyway, at least in my city). I'm very excited about this! Hopefully this means we will start seeing more and more stevia products on shelves. I'm hoping we'll start seeing stevia packets at coffee shops and restaurants right along side the sugar packets and Splenda packets (better yet, the Splenda packed will get tossed).
Mike Adams has an article about the FDA's decision over at NaturalNews.com. He discusses some of the reasons behind the FDA's ruling (hint: it had nothing to do with health and all to do with money).
Coca-Cola is already rolling out its natural soda that contains stevia. Sprite Green will be on a store shelf near you soon. I don't know what all the ingredients are, but I'll be sure to take a look at it.
I'm reminded of the letters I sent to Coca Cola and Wrigley's years ago, asking them why they didn't use stevia in their diet drinks and gum instead of artificial sweeteners. Maybe those letters really did make a difference. It was because of big companies like Coca Cola that the FDA finaly approved of stevia, after all!