In a Press Release issued March 1, 2018, the FDA announced the release of several guidance documents on dietary fiber and other key issues related to the new Nutrition Facts labeling laws, and there are a few important changes.
Editor’s note: this post was originally published on March 2, 2018, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
The definition for dietary fiber established in the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Label Final Rule document (May 2016) was meant to ensure that only beneficial dietary fiber (fiber with a proven positive impact on human health) could be listed as fiber on the nutrition facts panel.
In the newly released guidance documents, the FDA said they will consider the results of research studies involving participants who have a disease that might be positively impacted by the consumption of beneficial fiber (i.e. diabetes) when deciding whether or not a specific type of dietary fiber is beneficial. This is a change from the draft science review guidance which initially only factored in studies based on “healthy” individuals (without disease).
The FDA is now opening a comment period to discuss using the “†” symbol on certain maple syrup and honey products to clarify for consumers that these are pure products without additional Added Sugars (such as corn syrup) or for cranberry products that need a small amount of sugar for taste.
From the FDA:
Given the concerns outlined earlier regarding the added sugars declaration on pure honey, pure maple syrup, and certain cranberry products described here (dried cranberries and cranberry juice sweetened with added sugars that provide an amount of total sugars in a serving that does not exceed the level of total sugars in a serving of a comparable product with no added sugars), we intend to exercise enforcement discretion for such products to use a “†” symbol immediately following the added sugars percent Daily Value.
Cranberry product example:
† Sugars added to improve the palatability of naturally tart cranberries. The 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that there is room for limited amounts of Added Sugars in the diet, especially from nutrient dense food like naturally tart cranberries.
Honey (or maple syrup) example:
† All these sugars are naturally occurring in honey.
RACCs and Serving Size
The FDA has also issued final guidance on the RACCs and a small entity compliance guide for the Serving Size final rule.
The February 2018 guidance document included updates to the Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed: List of Products for Each Product Category: Guidance for the industry. The original document provided examples of products in each category and the 2018 update includes additional examples by category.
- Guidance for Industry: Scientific Evaluation of the Evidence on the Beneficial Physiological Effects of Isolated or Synthetic Non-Digestible Carbohydrates Submitted as a Citizen Petition (21 CFR 10.30)(February 2018)
- Draft Guidance for Industry: Declaration of Added Sugars on Honey, Maple Syrup, and Certain Cranberry Products (February 2018)
- Guidance for Industry: Proper Labeling of Honey and Honey Products (February 2018)
- Guidance for Industry: Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed: List of Products for Each Product Category (February 2018)
- Guidance for Industry: Small Entity Compliance Guide for Serving Size Final Rule (February 2018)