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In the 1960s, Robert Harvey, a biomedical postgraduate student, encountered the miracle berry, a fruit from west Africa which turns sour tastes to sweet.
"You can eat a berry and then bite into a lemon," says Harvey. "It becomes not only sweeter, but it will be the best lemon you've tasted in your life."
More importantly, this "miracle" can be used to manufacture sweet tasting foods without sugar or sweeteners, which have always been plagued by an after-taste.
But the FDA decided it would be considered as an additive which required several years more testing. In the poor economic climate of 1974, this could not be funded and the company folded.
"I was in shock," says Harvey. "We were on very good terms with the FDA and enjoyed their full support. There was no sign of any problem. Without any opportunity to know what the concern was and who raised it, and to respond to it - they just banned the product."
He remembers a number of strange events leading up to the FDA's decision, beginning immediately after one particular market research test.
A few weeks later, things turned sour. A car was spotted driving back and forwards past Miralin's offices, slowing down as someone took photographs of the building. Then, late one night, Harvey was followed as he drove home.
"I sped up, then he sped up. I pulled into this dirt access road and turned off my lights and the other car went past the end of the road at a very high speed. Clearly I was being monitored."
Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
I'm a bit confused. I have bought this product..
The Stevita Company's nightmare with the agency began, as Rodes related to The WINDS, "in November of last year when we received a warning letter from the FDA saying that the literature we were selling was illegal because it suggested that stevia could be used in ways other than as a dietary supplement."
The FDA makes a sharp legal distinction between a "food supplement" such as vitamins and for which stevia is approved, and a "food additive" for which it is not approved. The FDA's contention is that the sale of the books and literature by the Stevita Company "adulterated" the product by implying it can be used in other than "approved" applications. This strange logic of how something can be safe when used as a "food supplement" and unsafe when used as a "food additive," apparently lies within the federal agency's convoluted thinking processes. The FDA, according to Rodes, seized all Stevita's product shipments at the port of entry simply because the agency insists that no reference to the herb's property as a sweetener can be listed or even implied in its labeling.