WASHINGTON — The US Food and Drug Administration intends to propose that acacia gum, also known as gum Arabic, be included in the agency’s definition of dietary fiber. The action comes in response to a citizen petition from Nexira, Alland & Robert and Importers Service Corp.

Dietary fiber that can be declared on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels includes certain naturally occurring fibers that are "intrinsic and intact" in plants and added isolated or synthetic non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates that the FDA has determined have physiological effects that benefit human health. The FDA, when announcing the acacia gum news on Dec. 17, said scientific evidence supports that acacia gum can help reduce blood glucose and insulin levels after it is eaten with a meal containing a carbohydrate that raises blood glucose levels.

Efforts to convince the FDA to grant dietary fiber status to acacia gum began several years ago. The FDA denied the first petition dated April 19, 2019. The second petition, dated Dec. 28, 2020, was successful. It focused solely on the beneficial physiological effects on human health for postprandial blood glucose attenuation and/or insulin levels, and it contained a discussion about an additional study that was not included in the first petition, according to an FDA letter dated Dec. 17, 2021.

The second petition contained 10 publicly available studies that evaluated the effect of acacia gum consumption on postprandial blood glucose and insulin. The FDA drew conclusions from five of the studies.

Acacia gum may be used in applications such as beverages, cereal bars, baked foods and dairy products, according to Importer Services Corp. (ISC), Edison, NJ. It is a crucial ingredient in the production of a stable beverage emulsion. When spray dried, it prevents evaporation and oxidative deterioration of flavor/fragrance oils.

“Acacia fiber is easy to use in a large array of nutritional applications, and we are convinced it has a huge potential for food and drink developers who want to formulate healthy, natural and organic products,” said Mathieu Dondain, managing director of Nexira, which has a US office in Somerville, NJ. “As the first Carbon Neutral brand of ingredients, inavea (Nexira’s branded acacia gum ingredient) now carries additional claims, to satisfy the demands of manufacturers and end consumers. Nexira would like to thank all of its customers for their patience and for believing in our acacia fiber and its multiple benefits. We extended our capacity in prevision of this promising outcome and are hoping to soon manufacture acacia products in the USA.”