- 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 Co.by 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
- "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;