MELVILLE, N.Y. — Comax Flavors has added a stevia-masking flavor to its line of Special Effects flavors.

"With more and more food and beverage manufacturers choosing stevia as their natural sweetener of choice, we’ve mastered the science to assist them in overcoming the taste distortions that are imparted by stevia, the highly desirable, F.D.A.-approved, ‘green’ sweetener," said Dr. John Cavallo, Ph.D., president of Comax Flavors.

Comax Flavors worked with stevia extracts even before the Food and Drug Administration in December said it had no questions about scientific studies showing Rebaudioside A, an extract from the stevia plant, was Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for use in certain foods and beverages, said Catherine M. Armstrong, vice-president, marketing, for Comax Flavors.

"Our stevia-masking product not only overcomes bitterness caused by stevia but also deflects the lingering or clinging sweetness that interferes with the enjoyment and acceptability of the finished product," she said. "We are already assisting customers who are formulating with stevia, and we are providing customized support to those customers who up to now have been hesitant to work with stevia because of the taste distortions it could impart."

The Special Effects line from Comax includes such flavors as bitter blocker, acid reduction, caffeine mask and sweetness enhancers.