KANSAS CITY — The Food and Drug Administration provided some clear answers to confusing questions about its fiber definition earlier this year. While the answers involve multisyllable ingredients, the food and beverage industry should be able to connect the ingredients to brand names already on the market. In many cases the ingredients have other benefits besides being a source of fiber.
In the June 15 issue of the Federal Register the F.D.A. listed eight more isolated or synthetic carbohydrates that it would allow to be labeled as fiber: mixed plant cell wall fibers, arabinoxylan, alginate, inulin and inulin-type fructans, high-amylose starch (resistant starch 2), galactooligosaccharide, polydextrose, and resistant maltodextrin/dextrin. The F.D.A. determined the ingredients had physiological effects that are beneficial to human health, thus qualifying for the agency’s fiber definition.
The F.D.A. said resistant maltodextrin/dextrin met its fiber definition because it increases calcium absorption. Promitor soluble fiber from Tate & Lyle, P.L.C., Nutriose soluble fiber from Roquette and Fibersol soluble fiber from ADM/Matsutani, L.L.C. are all examples of resistant maltodextrin/dextrin.
“F.D.A. focused on calcium and stated that calcium has been determined to be a nutrient of public health significance,” said Doris Dougherty, Fibersol technical service representative for Archer Daniels Midland Co., Chicago. “Fibersol has emerging scientific evidence to support improved calcium absorption as well as additional physiological benefits, including glucose attenuation and triglyceride attenuation both following a meal. It is expected that the F.D.A. will review additional studies included in our citizen petitions at a later date.”
More than 20 years of clinical research and nearly 100 published studies show Fibersol’s physiological benefits, according to ADM/Matsutani, a joint venture between ADM, Matsutani Chemical Industry Co. Ltd. and Matsutani America, Inc. ADM/Matsutani used Fibersol to add six grams of fiber per serving in a golden vanilla frozen novelty sampled at IFT18, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and exposition held in July in Chicago. A digestive health cultured beverage also exhibited at IFT18 contained six grams of fiber per serving due to Fibersol.
Nutriose soluble fiber has received recognition in other countries besides the United States, according to Roquette, which has a U.S. office in Geneva, Ill. The European Commission has authorized the food industry to promote Nutriose’s health benefits for oral health and glycemic response. Nutriose already had obtained dietary fiber status in Canada. The Korean Food and Drug Administration has issued a favorable scientific opinion on the claim related to Nutriose prebiotic properties.
Several ingredient brand names are examples of inulin and inulin-type fructans: Frutafit and Frutalose from Sensus America, Inc., Oliggo-Fiber from Cargill, and Orafti from Beneo, Inc. The F.D.A. said such ingredients meet its fiber definition because they provide beneficial physiological effects in the form of bone mineral density and absorption of calcium.
“Inulin/oligofructose has been clearly shown to support physiological health benefits as assessed by the F.D.A.’s strict criteria,” said Carl Volz, president of Sensus America, after the F.D.A.’s June decision. “The F.D.A.’s inclusion of chicory root fiber as dietary fiber in its new food labeling regulations allows our customers to continue to use chicory root fiber as a tool to reduce calories and added sugar.”
Under the F.D.A. ruling, mixed plant cell wall fibers, to qualify as fiber, must contain two or more of the following: cellulose, pectin, lignin, beta-glucan and arabinoxylan. Examples of plant cell wall fibers are sugar cane fiber, oat hull fiber, rice bran fiber and soy fiber.
Grain Millers, Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn., originally said its oat fiber ingredients met the F.D.A. fiber definition because they were intrinsic and intact in plants. Now the company also may say oat fiber qualifies because it fits within the mixed plant cell wall fiber category. The company uses a chemical-free processing technique for its oat fiber ingredients, which may be used in applications such as beverages, bars, snacks, pasta, cereal and meat products. Oat fiber’s functional properties include improved product texture and enhanced crumb softness.
Roquette’s pea fiber 150M ingredient also is recognized under the category of mixed plant cell wall fibers. Produced from yellow peas, the ingredient contains soluble fiber and may be used as a texturizer. It may improve the yield and texture of processed meat because of its water retention, gelling and emulsifying capabilities.
Hi-Maize resistant starch ingredients from Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., meet the F.D.A. fiber definition because they are a form of resistant starch 2. While there are four types of resistant starch, the F.D.A. only mentioned resistant starch 2 in its fiber definition in the June 15 issue of the Federal Register.
Other branded ingredients that now meet the F.D.A. fiber definition include Nutraflora short-chain fructooligosaccharides, which are inulin-type fructans from Ingredion; Bioligo GL 5700 GOS, a galactooligosaccharide from Ingredion; Sta-Lite polydextrose from Tate & Lyle; and Litesse polydextrose from DuPont Nutrition & Health, a DowDuPont Specialty Products Division business.
The F.D.A. defined fiber for the first time in the May 27, 2016, issue of the Federal Register as non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; and isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by the F.D.A. to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health. The F.D.A. at that time also listed isolated or synthetic carbohydrates it viewed as fiber. Making the list at that time were beta-glucan soluble fiber, barley beta-fiber, psyllium husk, cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose.
Acacia gum suppliers plan to file F.D.A. petition
Manufacturers of acacia gum, also known as gum Arabic, intend to submit a citizen petition to the Food and Drug Administration next spring that will seek recognition of the ingredient as dietary fiber for nutrition labeling and claims on foods and beverages marketed in the United States. Manufacturers of acacia gum include ISC Gums, Nexira under its Fibregum brand and TIC Gums (a business of Ingredion, Inc.).
The F.D.A. defined fiber for the first time in the May 27, 2016, issue of the Federal Register as non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants; and isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with three or more monomeric units) determined by the F.D.A. to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.
Keller and Heckman L.L.P., a firm based in Washington, submitted comments to the F.D.A. on behalf of acacia gum manufacturers in February 2017. The comments described the beneficial physiological effects of acacia gum on energy intake, blood glucose levels and bowel function/laxation in supporting the conclusion that acacia gum is a non-digestible carbohydrate meeting the dietary fiber definition.
Representatives of the acacia gum industry met with the F.D.A. on Aug. 8 of this year to discuss acacia gum’s fiber status.
“Based on discussion with F.D.A., we have decided to conduct additional studies to strengthen the body of evidence supporting the beneficial physiological effects of gum acacia on blood glucose attenuation and energy intake,” Nexira said of the acacia gum industry. “After completion of the additional studies, we intend to submit a citizen petition to F.D.A. in the spring of 2019 to request that gum acacia be recognized as dietary fiber for nutrition labeling and claims on foods and beverages marketed in the United States.”