A coalition of 12 food and beverage industry associations is asking FDA officials for clarification on the Nutrition Facts label and its impact on dietary fibers. The coalition’s letter notes that FDA’s new approach to defining dietary fiber marks a significant change for the entire food industry and requests enforcement discretion to give companies more time to find viable solutions that meet the new definition.
In the final rule released in May, FDA issued a restricted list of products that meet the new standard of dietary fiber, defined as “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” These fibers include cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum and others that the agency deems to have physiological health benefits. However, FDA declined to make a determination about the status of other frequently used fibers, such as acacia (gum Arabic), inulin, cotton seed fiber, sugar cane fiber, soy fiber and pea fiber. Instead, the agency asked for comment on the available science regarding the physiological effects of these ingredients.