FDA has issued a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) no objection letter, for Cargill’s “next-generation” sweetener, EverSweet, qualifying it for use in food and beverages.

Harnessing the same sweetness found in the stevia leaf, Cargill introduced EverSweet in October 2015. The sweetener is produced through a fermentation process that combines a special baker’s yeast with simple sugars to produce Reb M and Reb D—two of the sweetest molecules of the stevia leaf. The leaf itself is not used in production of the sweetener. By using this process, Cargill, along with its partner Evolva, says it has developed a sweetener that provides better sweetness intensity, faster sweetness onset and improved sweetness quality—without the bitterness or aftertaste commonly associated with stevia sweeteners.

“We are thrilled to bring this innovation to our customers at a crucial time in history, when they are looking to deliver great tasting products with deeper sugar and calorie reductions,” says David Henstrom, Cargill vice president for health ingredients.

A launch date for the product is yet to be determined based on a number of factors, including “strain characteristics; fermentation and downstream processing costs; facility conversion costs, production scale, customer indications on pricing.”