Quoted in The Hundred-Year Lie:
Using the FDA to suppress competition from natural sweetener alternatives to aspartame has been employed effectively to maintain market monopolies. A natural and virtually calorie-free sweetener and health remedy from South America, called stevia, fell into a bureaucratic black hole in 1994, when the FDA banned it, calling it “an unsafe food additive.” This ban was enacted after a complaint was filed by a company the FDA refused to identify, charging that the stevia herb was being used in Celestial Seasonings tea without FDA approval.
Arizona congressman Jon Kyl charged that the FDA was engaging in “a restraint of trade to benefit the artificial-sweetener industry,” and voiced suspicions the complaint had been filed by makers of aspartame. Later, Congress passed legislation dealing with dietary supplements and allowed stevia to be sold as one such supplement, but in a strange twist, manufacturers were still prohibited from making any claims that even imply stevia is a sweetener. It is common knowledge that stevia is three hundred times sweeter than sugar, and without the calories, but broadcasting this truth in either labeling or advertising is considered a crime.
As for the FDA’s continuing insistence that stevia “hasn’t proven its safety as a food additive,” we have only to examine the history of its use to see the transparency of that contention. Not only has there been hundreds of years of use among the people of South America, it has been used since the 1970s in Japan as a sweetener–and widely tested in Japanese laboratories–without any record of health complaints or concerns.
Randall Fitzgerald, The Hundred-Year Lie, pg. 109.