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LGC Standards appointed to administer proficiency testing scheme for global stevia production

Date:10 May 2011

LGC Standards, Europe?s leading supplier of reference materials and UKAS accredited international provider of proficiency testing (PT) services (certificate no. 0001), has been appointed to administer the International Stevia Council?s (ISC) independent Proficiency Testing Program (PTP) for stevia* products.

A wide variety of analytical methods and reference standards are currently being used within the industry to determine steviol glycoside content. This variance has lead to inconsistent quality of the analytical methods and reference standards used, which in turn, may result in inaccurate and inconsistent representation of stevia product composition and purity levels.

From its new, state-of-the-art facility in Bury, UK, LGC Standards will be administering the PT scheme on behalf of the ISC to assure the quality of global stevia testing. The LGC Standards-administered PT scheme will allow participants 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. Ensuring analytical methods and standards employed are appropriate and meet minimum levels of accuracy will help to protect market viability of stevia-based products.

LGC Standards has successfully implemented numerous international proficiency testing schemes in global industries such as: food and beverage, cosmetic and toiletry, forensic toxicology, water analysis and animal feed.

Phil Smith, Head of Sales & Marketing, Proficiency Testing, LGC Standards, said ?We have a wealth of experience working with major food industries and brands to provide custom proficiency testing schemes worldwide. The collaboration with the International Stevia Council is exciting because it is such a new scheme and we believe it can have a real impact on developing methods in order to ensure high quality product for stevia customers.?

* Stevia is a plant of the Asteraceae (sunflower) family whose leaves have been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. Extracts of the stevia leaf have been available as food additives (sweeteners) and/or dietary supplements in many countries around the world.

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Notes to editors
About LGC Standards
LGC Standards (www.lgcstandards.com) provides products and services to improve measurement and quality control within the laboratory, and is part of LGC, whose LGC Science & Technology Division acts as the UK National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurements. LGC Standards supplies over 100,000 products, including reference materials, pharmaceutical impurity reference standards (produced under ISO Guide 34 accreditation), biological standards and reagents, and proficiency testing. LGC Standards is headquartered in Teddington, Middlesex, UK. Its global centre for excellence in proficiency testing is located in Bury (Greater Manchester). LGC Standards has offices in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, China, Russia, United Arab Emirates and the UK, a joint venture presence in India, and representatives in Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania, Turkey and the US.

About LGC
LGC (www.lgcgroup.com) is an international science-based company and market leader in analytical, forensic and diagnostic services and reference standards. LGC operates in a variety of markets which underpin the safety, health and security of the public and the regulation of industry, for both public and private sector clients.

LGC operates internationally through four divisions - LGC Forensics, LGC Genomics, LGC Standards and LGC Science & Technology. The latter includes specialist laboratories delivering contracts for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and supports LGC's designated role as the UK's National Measurement Institute for chemical and bioanalytical measurement.

Our operations are extensively accredited to international quality standards such as ISO 17025. With headquarters in Teddington, South West London, the LGC Group employs ca 1,400 staff in 29 laboratories and centres globally. Privatised in 1996 and now majority-owned by funds managed by Bridgepoint, LGC was founded almost 170 years ago as the Laboratory of the Government Chemist - a statutory function maintained by LGC today.

About The International Stevia Council
The International Stevia Council is a global trade association representing the interests of companies that process, manufacture and/or market stevia sweetener products. The International Stevia Council is a 501 (c) (6) not-for-profit organisation incorporated under the law of the State of Delaware in the United States (US). The Council was created in July 2010 by eleven founding members. The International Stevia Council is managed by its staff in its Global Office in Brussels (Belgium) and its US office in Washington DC (USA). For more information on the Council?s Proficiency Testing and to apply online, please visit: http://www.internationalsteviacouncil.org/proficiency-testing

For further information contact:
Amanda Russell
Marketing Manager
LGC Standards
Queens Road
TW11 0LY
Tel: +44 (0)20 8943 7412
Fax: +44 (0)20 8943 7009
Email: amanda.russell@lgcstandards.com

Gavin Dallas
Press & Communications Officer
Queens Road
TW11 0LY
Tel: +44 (0)20 8943 8491
Fax: +44 (0)20 8943 2767
Email: gavin.dallas@lgc.co.uk



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