PureCircle, developer and producer of high-purity Rebaudioside A (Reb A), announced that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued a no-objection letter with respect to Reb A. This indicates the FDA has no objection to the conclusion that Reb A at a minimum specification of 95% is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) among qualified experts for use in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners. This response from the FDA clears the way for high-purity Reb A, the first all-natural zero-calorie sweetener, to be adopted as a key ingredient in mainstream food and beverage production.

PureCircle is the world’s largest supplier of high-purity Reb A with the industry’s leading vertically integrated supply chain, to secure the consistent, reliable supply of high-quality, high-purity Reb A to manufacturers who want to offer their customers healthy, natural, great tasting products. Derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant, high-purity Reb A has a superior taste profile and displays excellent pH and temperature stability making it suitable for use as a sweetener ingredient across all food and beverage applications.

“The importance of GRAS status for high-purity Reb A cannot be overstated. This marks the opening of the largest market for Reb A,” said Magomet Malsagov, chief executive officer. “Food and drink manufacturers will now be able to use it as a sweetener ingredient – either as a complement to sugar or as a healthy substitute for synthetic sweeteners – across their entire product ranges.

“As the world’s leading supplier of Reb A, PureCircle is well placed to meet the expected surge in demand from the world’s largest food and beverage market. Our Reb A supply chain is already the world’s largest and we are making further investment with 50,000 MT of leaf extraction capacity coming online in March 2009 and joint venture partnerships with stevia plantations in Paraguay, Thailand, Laos, China and Kenya.”

Malsagov added: “Through the combination of PureCircle’s first-mover advantage, diversified supply chain, leading technology, strong market position and strategic partnerships, the company is poised to lead the natural sweetener market into a new era.”

The FDA’s issuance of a no-objection letter with respect to Reb A opens the USA market for PureCircle who will offer a full application and formulation service for the supply of PureVia Reb A as an ingredient. The announcement also confirms, at a minimum specification of 95%, the purity levels of Reb A which are approved in the United States, clearly differentiating Reb A from the traditional stevia extract market.

Earlier in the year, PureCircle announced contract extensions with Cargill and major new contracts with PepsiCo and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. for the supply of high-purity Reb A in beverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners worldwide including the exclusive license to market PureVia Reb A as an ingredient.

Uniquely, PureCircle can offer food and beverage manufacturers the opportunity to use the PureVia endorsement as the ultimate natural sweetness and healthy lifestyle solution to win consumer appeal. Additionally, PureCircle will continue to be free to sell the non-branded ingredient to customers across all categories and geographies.

PepsiCo has announced the launch of zero-calorie SoBe Lifewater and Tropicana’s new light orange juice Trop50, and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. has launched PureVia Tabletop Sweetener using Reb A. Cargill and Coca-Cola have also announced the launch of their respective range of products.

“Consumers are demanding a natural and healthy solution to the global obesity epidemic and other health issues resulting from high calorific ingredients in mainstream products,” Malsagov said “As an all-natural and calorie-free product, Reb A is seen as providing that solution.”

For more on Reb A visit www.Reb-A.com; for more on PureVia, visit www.purevia.com.

PureCircle is the world’s leading producer of high purity Rebaudioside A, with a vertically integrated supply chain operating on three continents. PureCircle markets a range of natural sweeteners internationally. Activities range from the sourcing of dry stevia leaves and extraction, refining of Reb A into sweeteners and marketing of these sweeteners to food and beverage manufacturers worldwide.

PureCircle’s extraction plant can produce 1,000 metric tons of stevia extract annually which is currently the world’s largest extraction facility. This is set to increase to 4,000 MT in March 2009. The company has built the world’s largest state-of-the-art refining plant in Malaysia. This currently produces 1,000 MT of high purity Reb A and work has started to double this capacity to 2,000 MT. The company’s production facilities operate in compliance with cGMP, HACCP and ISO standards.

PureCircle’s investment in research and development has given it a leadership position in the manufacture of high-purity Reb A, and their scientists are globally recognized experts in their field. The company works with independent farmers in Thailand, China, Paraguay, Laos and Kenya to grow the best-quality stevia leaf. PureCircle works closely with communities in each of these countries and endeavors to maximize the social, economic and environmental benefits of its operations.

PureCircle’s corporate offices are located in New Jersey; Asuncion, Paraguay; Geneva, Switzerland; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ganzhou, China; and Kericho, Kenya.

For more information, visit www.purecircle.com.