Like Truvia, Pure Via came under fire in part owing to the processing methods used to extract Reb A - the steviol glycoside they contain - but also owing to the choice of a bulking agent (in Truvia’s case: erythritol; in Pure Via’s case: dextrose and/or isomaltulose).
In her complaint, filed in California on January 28, 2014, plaintiff Angel Aguiar alleged that Merisant and its subsidiary Whole Earth Sweetener Co (which markets PureVia, Equal, and Canderel sweeteners) “advertised, and labeled PureVia as a natural sweetener primarily made from the stevia plant” when the primary ingredients were isomaltulose or dextrose and the Reb A it contained was “harshly purified through chemical processes”.
While formulators argue that in order to sell a high-intensity sweetener such as stevia as a table top product that can be substituted for sugar, you have to add a bulking agent (which will inevitably be the first ingredient on the list) and that some level of processing is necessary to extract the bits out of the stevia leaf that make it sweet, Aguiar argued that “no reasonable consumer would consider PureVia to be a natural product”.
Pure Via to amend labels but will not stop using ‘natural’ claim
In court papers filed Monday, Merisant and Whole Earth did not admit liability, but said they would pay $1.65m (much less than the $5m allocated by Cargill in the Truvia settlement - click HERE) and revise Pure Via’s marketing and labeling to avoid the cost and uncertainty of protracted litigation.