IDFA and 11 other food industry associations sent a letter last week to Food and Drug Administration officials regarding the agency’s final rule on the Nutrition Facts label and its impact on dietary fibers. Noting that FDA’s new approach to defining dietary fiber marks a significant change for the entire food industry, the associations requested clarification on a number of issues and asked FDA for enforcement discretion to allow companies time to find viable solutions that meet the new definition.
In the final rule released in May, FDA issued a restricted list of products that meet the new definition of dietary fiber, including cellulose, guar gum, pectin, locust bean gum and others that the agency deemed to have physiological health benefits. However, FDA declined to make a determination about other frequently used fibers, such as acacia (gum Arabic), inulin, cotton seed fiber, sugar cane fiber, soy fiber and pea fiber. Instead, the agency is seeking comment on the available science regarding the physiological effects of these ingredients.
The associations asked FDA to include in its Federal Register Notice a specific request for comment on the ingredients’ current scope of use.
“We think this information could help FDA better understand the broad scope of products affected by the agency’s current position on dietary fiber and the potential value in allowing industry to continue using and labeling fibers already on the market for the pendency of FDA;s review process,” they said.
In addition to requesting enforcement discretion, the associations asked FDA to release the notice and guidance as soon as possible so ingredient suppliers and food manufacturers could plan accordingly to meet the rule’s 2018 compliance deadline.
They sent the letter to Stephen Ostroff, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, and Susan Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The other associations are:
- American Bakers Association
- American Frozen Food Institute
- Calorie Control Council
- Council for Responsible Nutrition
- Grocery Manufacturers Association
- Independent Bakers Association
- International Food Additive Council
- North American Millers Association
- SNAC International
- The Association for Dressings & Sauces
- The Sugar Association
For more information, contact Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president, at firstname.lastname@example.org.