When PETA learned that the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) was calling for more animal tests on a natural, plant-based sweetener derived from stevia, our scientists submitted extensive comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refuting CSPI’s claims. Stevia and its derivatives have been thoroughly studied in animals and safely used by people for hundreds of years. The World Health Organization and many countries already recognize its safety. To support its argument, CSPI commissioned a UCLA graduate student and her advisor to write a report on the potential dangers of stevia derivatives. The report misrepresented existing evidence and made the absurd assertion that since rats are not good “models” for toxicological effects in humans, all the studies of stevia derivatives that have been done on rats should be repeated on mice and more rats. PETA also sent out an action alert to its members and supporters urging them to contact CSPI and speak out against its push for more animal testing. You responded with more than 700 e-mails in just five days! On December 18, 2008, we learned that the FDA had declared the sweetener to be safe for use in foods and beverages, sparing thousands of animals from having it pumped into their stomachs for their entire lives in unnecessary tests.