The FDA gave a dietary fiber definition that includes naturally occurring fibers and only fibers added to foods that show a physiological health benefit.
The FDA released the new Nutrition Facts Panel May 20. It becomes effective July 26. Food and beverage manufacturers with sales greater than $10 million need to comply by July 26, 2018. Companies with sales below $10 million have until July 26, 2019.
|Lee Sanders, senior vice-president for government relations and public affairs for the ABA.|
Also on May 20, the FDA gave a dietary fiber definition for the first time. It includes naturally occurring fibers and only fibers added to foods that show a physiological health benefit.
“Unfortunately, FDA retained the definition of dietary fiber based on a showing of a beneficial physiological effect, rather than a chemical definition as is the case for most other nutrients,” the ABA said.
The FDA said, “By defining the term dietary fiber, based on beneficial physiological effects in human health rather than by chemical definition, we will ensure that the dietary fiber declared amount will assist consumers to maintain healthy dietary practices, consistent with our labeling authorities under section 403(q) of FD&C Act.”
Other elements of the FDA’s fiber definition pleased the ABA. For example, the ABA changed the wording of “isolated and synthetic” fibers to “isolated or synthetic” fiber. The change helps reflect that fibers that are isolated are not synthetic, according to the ABA.
The ABA also agreed with the FDA determining that scientific evidence supports a showing of a beneficial physiological effect to human health from the following fibers: cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum, psyllium husk and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose.
The FDA plans to publish a separate notice that will seek comment on the available scientific data on non-digestible carbohydrates. Publicly available clinical trial data will be identified and summarized for non-digestible carbohydrates, including inulin, bamboo fiber, soy fiber, pea fiber, wheat fiber, cotton seed fiber, sugar cane fiber, sugar beet fiber and oat fiber.
The new Nutrition Facts Panel will include information on added sugars.
The new Nutrition Facts Panel will include information on added sugars. The new rules will require the declaration of a gram amount of “added sugars” in a serving of a product, establish a Daily Reference Value and require a per cent daily value declaration for added sugars. The new rules also will change “sugars” to “total sugars” and require the statement “includes ‘X’ g added sugars” be indented and declared directly below total sugars on the label.
“To assure that this change in policy is based on the full body of scientific evidence, it would have been most appropriate for the National Academy of Sciences to have conducted an official Daily Reference Intake review before any policy changes were executed,” Sanders said.
In regard to fermentation, the FDA noted that companies could petition for alternative compliance when measuring for added sugar labeling requirements, the ABA said. The ABA plans to review this issue and others related to the final rules for the Nutrition Facts Panel and serving size revisions at its upcoming Food Technical Regulatory Affairs Committee meeting June 7-8 in Washington, D.C., U.S.
Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, trehalose and turbinado sugar.
The Sugar Association, Washington, D.C., U.S., was more vocal on the listing of added sugars.
“The extraordinary contradictions and irregularities, as well as the lack of scientific justification in this rule-making process are unprecedented for the FDA,” the association said. “We are concerned that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent that is not grounded in science and could actually deter us from our shared goal of a healthier America.
“FDA has openly admitted it deviated from factors traditionally considered for mandatory declaration of nutrients on the NFL (i.e. chronic disease, health-related conditions). Instead, FDA arbitrarily selected from general dietary guidance and science of low evidentiary value to support its proposal for ‘added sugars’ labeling and to set a DRV. FDA also ignored comment from the European Commission inviting them to reconsider their position, citing lack of distinction between total and added sugars.”
For the Federal Register notice on the Nutrition Facts Panel, click here.