BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — The International Stevia Council has launched an independent proficiency testing program (PTP) for stevia products. The program will allow companies to benchmark performance of their methods, analytical standards and analysts’ competency in a statistically relevant, blind testing scheme managed in accordance with international quality standards.

Initially samples will be limited to stevia-based sweeteners that comply with purity specifications from JECFA (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives). LGC Standards Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, will administer the program.

“The PTP is open to any laboratory that wishes to participate in this testing scheme,” said Carl Horn, president of the council. “Therefore you do not need to be a member of the International Stevia Council to participate, though you will enroll directly with I.S.C. for participation.”

The International Stevia Council, a global trade association, represents the interests of companies that process, manufacture and/or market stevia sweetener products. The council has offices in Brussels and Washington.