On 1st-3rd April 2019 the 2nd Food Allergy Forum was held in Amsterdam. The conference hosted speakers coming from Europe, North-America and Australia and offered a mixed approach to the topic: regulatory, clinical and scientific.
It was the perfect occasion to launch our new YouTube Channel and start with Bert Popping and FOCOS our new editorial project: 100” Food News. Huge thanks to Bert and Carmen Diaz Amigo for the stunning graphics. Subscribe our YouTube channels and stay tuned for more news!
During the first day the most discussed issue was the opportunity to finally define thresholds for the use of precautionary allergen statements on the labels. Some regulators were pretty shy on the topic, explaining how we do not have conclusive data for all the food allergens and for all subjects’ categories. Very true, as well as the fact that the industry is taking responsibility every day in managing such situations and deciding how to protect consumers: after 20 years of discussions I think it’s time for the regulators to step in, Codex Alimentarius included. Maybe we would not have the best thresholds/action levels possible, but at least we will have something to work on and an instrument to standardized the approach. Today many countries are defining their own thresholds through soft law and non-binding guidance, and the outputs might differ greatly.
Would we really think that a jungle of different numbers would help the industry to adopt a more rationale approach to the precautionary allergen labeling? And what about consumers understanding of such indications?
This and much more in the first 100” Food News and in Bert’s full report about the conference.
On 27th March the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that it intends to propose that “cross-linked phosphorylated RS4” – regardless of source – be added to the definition of dietary fiber. The action was taken in response to a citizen petition from MGP Ingredients Inc.
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 beneficial physiological effects to human health.
The FDA established a definition for dietary fiber in its Nutrition Facts label final rule, which was published in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016. Based on available evidence, FDA has determined that the scientific evidence suggests that cross-linked phosphorylated RS4 can help reduce insulin levels following a meal containing a carbohydrate that raises blood glucose levels.
Including this current notification, 16 categories of non-digestible carbohydrates (e.g. mixed plant cell wall fibers, a broad category) 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 regarding adding 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 requesting that additional fibers be added to the definition of dietary fiber. Those petitions will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
(Source: FDA website)
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