F.D.A. amends health claim for soluble fiber

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services of the Food and Drug Administration has amended its "Soluble fiber from certain foods and risk of coronary heart disease" health claim to include barley betafiber as an additional eligible source of beta-glucan soluble fiber.

The interim final rule, published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Federal Register, was issued in response to a health claim petition filed in June 2006 by Minneapolis-based Cargill. Cargill claims to be the only producer of barley betafiber, and its Barliv barley betafiber product is the only barley beta-glucan concentrate that currently qualifies for the F.D.A. health claim as defined. Barliv barley betafiber is a concentrated beta-glucan soluble fiber derived from whole grain barley, and, according to Cargill, has been shown to significantly improve total cholesterol and L.D.L. cholesterol levels when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet.

In the Federal Register notice, the F.D.A. said it "previously concluded that there was significant scientific agreement that a claim characterizing the relationship between beta-glucan soluble fiber of certain whole oat and whole grain barley products and (coronary heart disease) risk is supported by the totality of publicly available scientific evidence," adding it now has concluded "that in addition to certain whole oat and whole grain barley products, barley betafiber is also an appropriate source of beta-glucan soluble fiber."

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