Dietary Fiber Definition Task Force Submits Comments on Nutrition Labeling
B. McCleary. Megazyme International Ireland, Bray County Wicklow, Ireland. Cereal Foods World 53(2):91.
The AACC International Dietary Fiber Definition Task Force submitted a letter in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s call for comments on the revised reference values and mandatory nutrients on food labels. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) definition of dietary fiber includes two categories: dietary fiber and functional fiber. AACC Intl. opposes the use of the term “functional fiber” on food labels because current analytical methods cannot discriminate between dietary fiber that is naturally present in a food and isolated fiber that is added to a food. The IOM definition may also confuse consumers who perceive functional fiber to be healthier than dietary fiber due to confusion with the term functional foods. The continued use of AOAC Intl. analytical methods for dietary fiber measurement is recommended. These methods are also AACC Intl.–approved methods. Both organizations are working together to develop an improved procedure that measures all compounds that are included in both the AACC Intl. and the 27th Session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) definitions of dietary fiber. The task force also supported the voluntary labeling of insoluble and soluble fiber because research indicates that the two general categories of dietary fiber have distinct health benefits. The inclusion of viscous and nonviscous fiber on the Nutrition Facts Panels is not warranted, however, because precise methods for measuring viscosity have not been validated by interlaboratory evaluation. The task force’s full letter and the FDA’s call for comments are available on AACCnet.