The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it intends to propose that “glucomannan” be added to the definition of dietary fiber. The action is being taken in response to a citizen petition from The Food Lawyers.
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 FDA has determined have physiological effects that benefit human health.
The FDA established a definition for dietary fiber in its 2016 Nutrition Facts label final rule. Based on available evidence, FDA has determined that the scientific evidence suggests that glucomannan can help reduce blood cholesterol. Glucomannan is commonly found in the tuber or root of the elephant yam, also known as the konjac plant.
With this current notification for glucomannan, 17 categories of non-digestible carbohydrates (including a broad category of mixed plant cell wall fibers) are either included in the definition of dietary fiber, or are non-digestible carbohydrates that FDA intends to propose to be added to the definition of dietary fiber (see Questions and Answers on Dietary Fiber for a list). Seven of these fibers were identified in the Nutrition Facts label final rule as meeting the dietary fiber definition. Until FDA completes rulemaking to add additional fibers to the regulatory definition of dietary fiber, the agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion to allow manufacturers to include the amount of these additional fibers in the dietary fiber declaration on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels. Firms can submit citizen petitions at any time requesting that additional fibers be added to the definition of dietary fiber. Those petitions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.