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FDA says it has no questions regarding industry's conclusion that the novel sweetener rebaudioside A, a highly purified extract from the stevia plant, is generally recognized as safe for use in various foods and as a tabletop sweetener. In response to letters sent to Whole Earth Sweetener Co. and Cargill, FDA paved the way for the companies to legally market food and beverages that contain rebaudioside A. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, called FDA's decision a "parting gift" from the Bush Administration to the soda industry. CSPI contends that rebaudioside A has been inadequately tested and that FDA ignored a study that found the sweetener causes DNA damage and mutations in rats.
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