FDA Trying To Force Texas
Company To Burn Its
Books On Stevia
DALLAS - May 26, 1998 -- In an unprecendented move, US Food and Drug Administration officials threatened legal action against Texas-based Stevita Co., importers of the sweet- tasting herbal dietary supplement, Stevia - for distri- buting books and literature about their product.
The latest volley in a bitter battle has been fired at Texas- based Stevita federal Food and Drug Administration officials. The FDA, an agency of the federal government, is responsible for upholding the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and expression. This responsiblity was drawn into question on May 19th when FDA Compliance Officer, James R. Lahar faxed a letter to Stevita Co. addressing the destruction of 2,500 books he deemed "offending," at a cost to the company well in excess of $10,000. The letter further threatens that investigators will conduct a current inventory and "witness the destruction of the cookbooks, literature, and other pub- lications for the purpose of verifying compliance" upon visiting Stevita Co. for a fourth time this year.
One of three books in question is The Stevia Story - A tale of incredible sweetness & intrigue, by Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie and Donna Gates with Foreword by James S. Turner, Esq.. Ironically, Chapter Four of the book the FDA wants to destroy is titled: "What's wrong with the FDA?" An attempt to strongarm critics into silence - similar to book burnings in Nazi Germany?
Oscar Rodes, President of the Stevita Company said the FDA ordered the action because the books contain general information that include: history, usages and scientific studies regarding stevia. Currently, Federal law requires stevia herbal products can only be marketed as dietary supplements without any mention of having sweetening power.
"The Stevia Story-A tale of incredible sweetness & intrigue" by Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie and Donna Gates. ISBN :0-9638458-1-0 ; 79 pp; B.E.D. Publica- tions Co., Atlanta, GA 30327; 1997. 1-800-4STEVIA.]

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