FLORHAM PARK, N.J., Dec. 18 PureCircle (LSE: PURE), theworld's leading developer and producer of high-purity Rebaudioside A (Reb A)*today announces that the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issueda no objection letter with respect to Reb A. This indicates the FDA has noobjection to the conclusion that Reb A at a minimum specification of 95% isGenerally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) among qualified experts for use inbeverages, foods and tabletop sweeteners. This response from the FDA clearsthe 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 theindustry's leading vertically integrated supply chain, to secure theconsistent, reliable supply of high-quality, high-purity Reb A tomanufacturers who want to offer their customers healthy, natural, greattasting products. High-purity Reb A has a superior taste profile and displaysexcellent pH and temperature stability making it suitable for use as asweetener ingredient across all food and beverage applications.
Commenting on the GRAS announcement, Magomet Malsagov, Chief Executivesaid:
"The importance of GRAS status for high-purity Reb A cannot be overstated,this marks the opening of the largest market for Reb A. Food and drinkmanufacturers will now be able to use it as a sweetener ingredient -- eitheras 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 tomeet the expected surge in demand from the world's largest food and beveragemarket."
"Our Reb A supply chain is already the world's largest and we are makingfurther investment with 50,000 MT of leaf extraction capacity coming online inMarch 2009 and joint venture partnerships with stevia plantations in Paraguay,Thailand, Laos, China and Kenya."
"Through the combination of PureCircle's first-mover advantage,diversified supply chain, leading technology, strong market position andstrategic partnerships, the company is poised to lead the natural sweetenermarket into a new era."
The FDA's issuance of a no objection letter with respect to Reb A opensthe U.S. market for PureCircle who will offer complete application andformulation assistance for products developed with high-purity Reb A as aningredient, including under the PureVia(TM) brand. The announcement alsoconfirms, at a minimum specification of 95%, the purity levels of Reb A whichare approved in the U.S., clearly differentiating Reb A from the traditionalstevia extract market.
Earlier in the year, PureCircle announced contract extensions with Cargilland major new contracts with PepsiCo and Whole Earth Sweetener Company for thesupply of high-purity Reb A in beverages, foods and tabletop sweetenersworldwide. PureCircle has a license agreement giving it the right to sellhigh-purity Reb A under the PureVia(TM) brand in categories and customers tobe determined.
Uniquely, PureCircle can offer food and beverage manufacturers theopportunity to use the PureVia(TM) endorsement as the ultimate naturalsweetness and healthy lifestyle solution to win consumer appeal. Additionally,PureCircle will continue to be free to sell the non-branded ingredient tocustomers across all categories and geographies.
PepsiCo has announced the launch of zero-calorie SoBe Lifewater andTropicana's new light orange juice Trop50, and Whole Earth Sweetener Companyhas launched PureVia(TM) Tabletop Sweetener using Reb A. Cargill and Coca-Cola have also announced the launch of their respective range of products.
Magomet Malsagov, adds:
"Consumers are demanding a natural and healthy solution to the globalobesity epidemic and other health issues resulting from high-caloricingredients in mainstream products. As an all-natural and calorie-freeproduct, Reb A is seen as providing that solution."
NOTES TO EDITORS:
PureVia(TM) is a trademark of PepsiCo Inc and Whole Earth SweetenerCompany LLC.
For more on Reb A, visit http://www.Reb-A.com
For more on PureVia(TM) the all-natural, zero calorie sweetener, visithttp://www.purevia.com
PureCircle (LSE: PURE) is the world's leading producer of high purityRebaudioside A (Reb A*), with a vertically integrated supply chain operatingon three continents. PureCircle markets a range of natural sweetenersinternationally. Activities range from the sourcing of dry stevia leaves andextraction, refining of Reb A into sweeteners and marketing of thesesweeteners to food and beverage manufacturers worldwide.
PureCircle's extraction plant can produce 1,000MT of stevia extractannually which is currently the world's largest extraction facility. This isset to increase to 4,000MT in March 2009. The Company has built the world'slargest state-of-the-art refining plant in Malaysia. This currently produces1,000MT of high purity Reb A and work has started to double this capacity to2,000MT. The Company's production facilities operate in compliance with cGMP,HACCP and ISO standards.
PureCircle's investment in research and development has given it aleadership position in the manufacture of high-purity Reb A, and theirscientists 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 closelywith communities in each of these countries and endeavors to maximize thesocial, economic and environmental benefits of its operations.
PureCircle's corporate offices are located in New Jersey, USA; Asuncion,Paraguay; Geneva, Switzerland; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Ganzhou, China; andKericho, Kenya.
PureCircle is listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market under theticker symbol: PURE
For more information on PureCircle, visit: http://www.purecircle.com* High-purity Reb A is derived from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant ** High-purity Reb A is the first all-natural, zero calorie sweetener