GMOs: sweetened transparency

GMOs: sweetened transparency

by Christophe NOISETTE
Date of publication : 30 October 2023

Inf’OGM has studied over 600 dossiers filed in the European Union for molecules (enzymes, vitamins, additives) produced by micro-organisms, whether genetically modified or not. Among these dossiers, three concern the production of molecules, attempts at synthetic copies of chemical compounds present natively in Stevia. The aim is to produce sweeteners. The three companies, Avansya, Amyris and SweetGen, use genetically modified yeast to produce these sweeteners. As we shall see, these companies’ communications are misleading.

Recently, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) examined three applications for the authorization of sweeteners produced by genetically modified yeast. More specifically, they concern the production of molecules called Rebaudioside (or Reb), from the steviol glycoside family. These molecules will be found in food additives (E 960) [1]. Companies not only fail to mention that their sweeteners are derived from GMOs, but use misleading vocabulary.

Synthetic molecules produced by GM micro-organisms

Avansya, a joint venture between DSM and Cargill, is promoting a “EVERSWEET™” sweetener on its website. It writes that, at its plant in Blair (Nebraska, USA), is produced “a stevia-based, calorie-free, non-artificial sweetener” [2]. It goes on to state that “these highly sought-after sweet-tasting molecules, such as Reb M and Reb D [are] used to make EVERSWEET™, and offers food and beverage manufacturers an even more scalable, sustainable and low-cost-to-use solution than if these molecules were extracted from stevia leaf”. And therein lies the appeal of industrial production: the artificial is cheaper than extracting the natural.
Cargill’s website provides “further details”: “EverSweet®, the next generation stevia sweetener. A calorie-free sweetness inspired by nature. Our secret? The age-old technique of fermentation – with a modern twist. Thanks to a specially designed yeast, our EverSweet® stevia sweetener delivers the same sweet taste as stevia leaf” [3].

In the case of EverSweet, these molecules appear to be produced by the genetically modified… => to read the full article, see


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