Dietary fiber has received a significant amount of attention recently as part of a series of updates made to nutrition facts labels rolled out by FDA earlier this spring. The agency’s new definition of dietary fiber is “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants,” and “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” The key here being ‘beneficial fiber’ as defined by FDA.The current list of approved fibers includes the following:

  • Beta-glucan
  • Cellulose
  • Guar Gum
  • Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Pectin
  • Psyllium Husk

So what does this mean for previously-declared dietary fibers not on this list? The FDA has stated it intends to communicate the process for submitting petitions for the addition of non-digestible polysaccharides. A guidance document will be released later this year or early next outlining specific documentation recommended for submittal as part of the petition process. Furthermore, the FDA will seek comments on publicly available scientific data for fibers such as inulin, wheat fiber, oat fiber, and others. Companies wishing to petition need not wait for further direction from FDA. In fact, petitions had been put forth prior to the announcement of the final rules, as fiber ingredient stakeholders no doubt kept a close watch on the situation.

To aid in the digestion of all of the dietary fiber updates (pun intended), Mérieux NutriSciences is introducing a newly released on-demand webinar, “The Evolving World of Dietary Fiber.” In this free webinar, we touch on the regulatory changes in detail, discuss available analytical testing methods, and walk through an example of how these unique calculations will now be performed to allow adjustments for fibers that aren’t currently FDA-recognized dietary fibers.

Meet the Author

Nick Price
Associate Product Manager, Chemistry, Mérieux NutriSciences

Nick Price is the Associate Product Manager for Chemistry at MerieuxNutriSciences. His current focus is on the development of analytical offerings in areas of nutrition, pet food, contaminants, and others. Nick received a Bachelors degree in Chemistry from the University of Illinois and is currently pursuing an advanced degree in Food Science. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, spending time with his two dogs, and volunteering on behalf of Autism Speaks.

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