Labelling of Steviol Glycosides

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Steviol glycosides, or purified steviol glycosides are regulated as food additives in Canada. See Health Canada's list of permitted sweeteners for more details.

Common Names to use in the list of ingredients

As the common name "Steviol glycosides" is not listed in boldface type in column II of table B.01.010.1(3)(a) of the Food and Drug Regulations, a variety of other prescribed names may be used.

For naming purposes, the nine steviol glycosides are closely related structural analogues that all contain a steviol backbone. Rebaudioside A, Stevioside, Rebaudioside C, Dulcoside A, Rubusoside, Steviolbioside, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside D, and Rebaudioside F are the nine named steviol glycosides. Although these steviol glycosides are all producing similar physiological effects, if stakeholders wish to specify that they have a product with one of the specific steviol glycosides, they must clearly understand the molecular weight, chemical structure and mechanisms to identify that specific glycoside. Each specific steviol glycoside will have a different molecular weight based on the number of glucose molecules attached to this backbone. For example, Stevioside cannot be used synonymously with Rebaudioside A, as Stevioside refers to a sweetener that contains one less glucose molecule attached to its steviol backbone than Rebaudioside A.

Acceptable synonyms for steviol glycosides that may appear in the list of ingredients
Acceptable synonyms
(for Steviol Glycosides)
Food Additive Rationale
  • Purified Stevia Extract
  • Purified Stevia Leaf Extract
  • Stevia Extract
  • Stevia Leaf Extract
These steviol glycosides must contain at least 95% of the nine named steviol glycosides, and meet the JECFA specifications "Stevia extract" and "stevia leaf extract" have been used as common names for this sweetener in natural health products in Canada.
These steviol glycosides must contain at least 95.0% Rebaudioside A on the dried basis, and meet the FCC monograph for Rebaudioside A. Rebaudioside A is the common name for this specific steviol glycoside. Rebaudioside A, Reb A and Rebiana are recognized as acceptable names in the current FCC monograph.
  • Stevioside
  • Rebaudioside C
  • Dulcoside A
  • Rubusoside
  • Steviolbioside
  • Rebaudioside B
  • Rebaudioside D
  • Rebaudioside F
These steviol glycosides must contain at least 95% of Stevioside, Rebaudioside C, Dulcoside A, Rubusoside, Steviolbioside, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside D, or Rebaudioside F on the dried basis, and meet the JECFA specifications The name of each specific steviol glycoside (i.e. Stevioside, Rebaudioside C, Dulcoside A, Rubusoside, Steviolbioside, Rebaudioside B, Rebaudioside D, or Rebaudioside F) is acceptable if the steviol glycoside contains at least 95% of the named component.

Table Notes

Table note 1

Canadian consumers are not familiar with the names "Reb A" or "Rebiana" that are listed the FCC monograph. It is therefore recommended that these names are accompanied by synonyms that are better recognized in parentheses, as shown in the table above.

Return to table note 1  referrer

Common names to use on other areas of the package

Although the terms listed in the table above are the only acceptable common names that can be used in the list of ingredients for steviol glycosides, alternate terms may be used on other label areas of pre-packaged products.

For example, "stevia sweetener" may be used as the common name of a product that meets the specifications above. Although "stevia sweetener" cannot be used in the list of ingredients, if the list of ingredients is appropriately labelled to reflect the steviol glycoside used, terms such as these may be used for product name descriptions.

"Stevia" alone, on the other hand, is not acceptable to be used as a common name, as the name "Stevia" is referring to the plant and not the extracted glycoside. See Health Canada's factsheet on sugar substitutes for more information.

"Natural Source" Claims for Steviol Glycosides

Steviol glycosides are not considered to be a natural ingredient due to its significant processing and the types of solvents used for its extraction and purification. Claims which create the impression that the steviol glycoside itself is natural are not permitted. Therefore, steviol glycosides cannot be described as a natural sweetener. See nature, natural for more information on natural claims.

While steviol glycosides are not considered to be natural, claims that describe steviol glycosides as a product derived from a natural source such as "naturally sourced", "natural source", "natural origin" or other similar claims are acceptable when it is clear that only the origin or source of steviol glycosides is natural and not the extract (or the final ingredient) itself.

Related Links

  1. Information and Consultation Document on Health Canada's Proposal to Allow the Use of the Food Additive Steviol Glycosides as a Table-Top Sweetener and as a Sweetener in Certain Food Categories. June, 2012. Health Canada
  2. Notice of Modification to the List of Permitted Sweeteners to Enable the Use of Steviol Glycosides as a Table-Top Sweetener and as a Sweetener in Certain Food Categories. November, 2012. Health Canada
  3. Sweeteners
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