FDA grants citizen petition on glucomannan as a dietary fibre

The US agency has determined that scientific evidence suggests that glucomannan can help reduce blood cholesterol

The US Food and Drug Administration intends to propose that glucomannan be added to the definition of dietary fibre. The action is being taken in response to a citizen petition from The Food Lawyers, the US agency has revealed.

Glucomannan is commonly found in the tuber or root of the elephant yam, also known as the konjac plant.

Dietary fibre that can be declared on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels includes certain naturally occurring fibres that are “intrinsic and intact” in plants.

The Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels also discloses dietary fibre from isolated or synthetic non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates that the FDA has determined to have physiological effects that benefit human health.

Scientific evidence 

The FDA established a definition for dietary fibre in its 2016 Nutrition Facts label final rule. Based on available evidence, the FDA has determined that the scientific evidence suggests that glucomannan can help reduce blood cholesterol.

Glucomannan from the konjac plant

With this current notification for glucomannan, 17 categories of non-digestible carbohydrates (including a broad category of mixed plant cell wall fibres) are either included in the definition of dietary fibre or are non-digestible carbohydrates that the FDA intends to propose to be added to the definition of dietary fibre.

Seven of these fibres were identified in the Nutrition Facts label final rule as meeting the dietary fibre definition.

Until FDA completes rulemaking to add additional fibres to the regulatory definition of dietary fibre, the agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion to allow manufacturers to include the amount of these additional fibres in the dietary fibre declaration on the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels.

Firms can submit citizen petitions at any time requesting that additional fibres be added to the definition of dietary fibre. Those petitions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The FDA response to the citizen petition can be read online.

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