I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I got to witness the FDA’s book burning of the books touting the health benefits of stevia.
This article may be a little long, but you can dig deeper into this in my sweetener books. Believe me, I have all the information!
I’m so glad I recorded all this historic data at the time.
This happened in the 1990s when NutraSweet’s® patent expired, and stevia was now free to compete on the American market.
Stevia’s competitors employed unyielding efforts to keep it off the market for many reasons. One thing for sure, stevia’s safety was one reason they burned the books about stevia.
Unlike aspartame, stevia is safe to cook with, but without guidance on ratios and conversions that were written in the books, the average consumer was at a loss at how to use it. Attempts typically ended with bitter results because people used as much stevia as they used NutraSweet and Equal®, which was far too much.
Stevia is so pure, all you need is a pinch.
But, they didn’t want you to know about it.
Stevia is also less expensive than its synthetic counterparts. As more consumers rejected the pharmaceutical “versions of sugar” and were thrilled that a “healthier” sweetener was finally available, stevia climbed in popularity, despite the political hurdles.
No matter how hard the Big Corps tried to keep stevia off the market, it turned out that stevia’s healthy qualities remained, and the FDA was never able to produce legitimate negative evidence.
Lots of corporate studies came out, but they had been falsified and were proven untrue.
Future Proves Past
At the time, the FDA continued to ignore the overwhelming evidence of stevia’s beneficial qualities. Stevia’s centuries of safe use throughout the rest of the world continued to benignly fall on U.S. “regulatory minds.”
The FDA never accepted any Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) petitions filed by food or beverage manufacturers seeking to introduce stevia as a sweetener ingredient in their products. Lipton® filed petitions for GRAS, only to be denied based on a FDA “technical error.”
As requests for stevia increased, the FDA finally made a definitive move in 1996. They targeted Oscar Rodes, owner of the Stevita Company, in Arlington, Texas.
The War On Stevia
The first shipment of Stevia Spoonful® (a blend of stevioside and maltodextrin) was imported to Texas in the summer of 1996. Stevia Spoonful was a registered trade name of STEVIASWEET®. The FDA’s Dallas office detained the shipment of 3,000 jars, stating that the Stevita Co. could not use the trade name “STEVIASWEET” because the word SWEET implied that stevia could be used as a sugar substitute.
The labels were changed onsite at the American Airlines warehouse to STEVITA® brand. The products, now with new labels, were released.
In early 1997, the Stevita Co. started importing Stevita chocolate coffee flavoring and Stevita cappuccino coffee flavoring. The first shipments passed through customs with no problems. But, in October 1997, the FDA detained a shipment of Stevita cappuccino flavoring.
They claimed Stevita Co. was selling coffee instead of stevia.
Rodes removed the word “coffee” from the label, and submitted the new label, MAGIC®. After changing all 5,000 labels, the shipment was released.
On November 12, 1997, FDA inspectors, Martha Baldwin and Pauline Logan raided Rodes’ Arlington, Texas facility, confiscating books and some scientific literature.
The crime? “Violations of the rules and regulations governing dietary supplements.”
Stevita Co. owner Oscar Rodes was also the owner of the Brazilian patent on stevia manufacturing, and he was distributing three books. The books described the history of this sweet herb, and contained stevia recipes.
Rodes was ordered to destroy his inventory of books, and was forced to remove all links to other websites from his Internet site. Well, when Oscar refused to destroy the books, the FDA agents did.
With a BIC® lighter.
I am not talking about burning The Anarchist’s Cookbook, a book about how to construct “homemade bombs“; I am referring to the burning of cookbooks showing how to cook with an herb.
I could keep writing, but this post is getting pretty long. Go to my Richardson Cancer Prevention Diet to read the details, but for now, let me finish with this: the FDA Compliance Officer, Dallas District Office, James R. LaHar, mandated the destruction of a total of 2,500 books on stevia deemed as “offensive.”
Here is a list of some the books burned in Oscar’s warehouse:
James Kirkland’s book, Cooking With Stevia, published by Morris Press;
The Stevia Story – A Tale of Incredible Sweetness & Intrigue, by Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie, and Donna Gates;
Nature’s Sweet Secret – Stevia by David Richards.
As you can see, the powers that be have been rotten for a very long time, and they still are today.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. The FDA may not have evaluated some of the statements. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding supplements or making any changes to your dietary program.
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