Dupont wins a new health claim on lactitol

Following an application from DuPont Nutrition BioSciences ApS, submitted for authorisation of a health claim pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 via the Competent Authority of the United Kingdom, the EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) was asked to deliver an opinion on the scientific substantiation of a health claim related to lactitol and the maintenance of normal defecation.

The scope of the application was proposed to fall under a health claim based on newly developed scientific evidence. The general approach of the NDA Panel to the evaluation of health claims applications is outlined in the EFSA general guidance for stakeholders on the evaluation of Article 13(5) and 14 health claims (EFSA NDA Panel, 2011a) and the guidance on the scientific requirements for health claims related to gut and immune function are outlined in a specific EFSA guidance document (EFSA, 2011c).

The food constituent that is the subject of the health claim is lactitol. The Panel considers that lactitol is sufficiently characterised. The claimed effect proposed by the applicant is “normal bowel function by increasing stool frequency, increasing stool bulk and moisture, softening stool consistency and reducing transit time”. The target population proposed by the applicant is the general population.

The Panel notes that the proposed claimed effect refers to the maintenance of normal defecation. The Panel considers that the maintenance of normal defecation is a beneficial physiological effect. A total of 15 human intervention studies were identified by the applicant as being pertinent to the health claim. The Panel considers that the outcomes measured in one study are not relevant to assess the claimed effect on the maintenance of normal defecation. Out of 14 studies, stool frequency was measured in 12 studies, stool consistency in 12 studies, stool bulk in two studies and transit time in three studies. In some studies, the effect of lactitol was compared with either the baseline value or a control placebo group, and in other studies lactitol was compared with lactulose, assuming that lactulose has an effect on defecation. The Panel notes that these studies were not designed as equivalence studies. Hence, no conclusions can be drawn from them for the scientific substantiation of the claim. The Panel also notes that transit time is not necessarily related to normal defecation. The Panel considers that no conclusions can be drawn from studies assessing transit time for the scientific substantiation of the claim.

In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into account that 12 studies with various methodological limitations consistently showed that consumption of at least 10 g/day lactitol increases stool frequency; that five out of six studies found that lactitol softens stool consistency; and that two studies showed that lactitol increases stool bulk. The Panel also acknowledges the plausible mechanisms of action by which lactitol could exert the claimed effect. The dose of 10 g/day lactitol does not induce diarrhoea.

On the basis of the data presented, the Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of lactitol and the maintenance of normal defecation.

The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “lactitol can contribute to normal defecation”. The claimed effect can be obtained by consuming 10 g of lactitol daily. The target population is the general adult population.

Read here the full EFSA scientific opinion.

(Source: EFSA website)

FDA Warning Letter – Misbranding – Whole grain benefits and not authorised claims

Here’s the FDA position about not authorised digestive claims in USA:
FDA WARNING LETTER – MAR 10, 2015
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) reviewed the label for your Post Great Grains Digestive Blend (vanilla graham) product in September 2014. Based on our review, we have concluded that your Post Great Grains Digestive Blend (vanilla graham) product is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [Title 21, United States Code (U.S.C.), sections 301 et seq.] and the applicable regulations found in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 101 (21 CFR Part 101). You can find the Act and FDA regulations through links on FDA’s home page at http://www.fda.gov.
Your Post Great Grains Digestive Blend (vanilla graham) product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(1)(B)] in that the labeling bears health claims that were not authorized by FDA.
Your product label bears claims that characterize the relationship of a nutrient to a disease or health-related condition. Specifically, your product label bears the following claims: “By consuming at least 48 g of whole grains per day you can support healthy digestion and reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. New Great Grains Digestive Blend cereal has 41 g of whole grain which is more than 85% of the daily recommended amount!”
A health claim expressly or by implication characterizes the relationship between a substance and a disease or health-related condition [21 CFR 101.14(a)(1)]. Substance means a specific food or component of food [21 CFR 101.14(a)(2)]. The whole grains that are a component of your product are substances within the meaning of 21 CFR 101.14(a)(2), and your label characterizes the relationship of these substances to diseases or health-related conditions (i.e., heart disease and diabetes). Because the product label bears health claims that were not authorized by FDA either by regulation [see section 403(r)(3)(A)-(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(3)(A)(B)]] or under authority of the health claim notification provision of the Act [see section 403(r)(3)(C) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(3)(G)]], the product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(B) of the Act.
FDA has authorized health claims linking the consumption of whole grain foods to reduced risk of heart disease through the notification procedure in section 403(r)(3)(C) of the Act. Of those authorized claims, the ones closest to the claims on your product label are as follows:
  • “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”[1]
  • “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”[2]
The claim “By consuming at least 48 g of whole grains per day you can… reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like heart disease…” is not consistent with either of the above-cited claims that are authorized under section 403(r)(3)(C) of the Act. For example, your claim leaves out any reference to other plant foods and to foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
In addition, in a September 11, 2013, letter announcing that FDA would consider the exercise of enforcement discretion[3], FDA articulated two claims for which the agency intends to consider the exercise of enforcement discretion, each of which references the “very limited scientific evidence” linking the consumption of whole grains with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Those claims are as follows:
  • “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, although the FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”
  • “Whole grains may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is very limited scientific evidence for this claim.”
The claim “By consuming at least 48 g of whole grains per day you can… reduce the risk of several chronic diseases like…diabetes…” is not consistent with either of the above-cited claims for which FDA announced it would consider the exercise of enforcement discretion.   For example, your claim leaves out any reference to the very limited scientific evidence linking the consumption of whole grains with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
For all of the above-noted reasons, your product is misbranded within the meaning of section 403(r)(1)(B) of the Act.
If you are aware of additional evidence that would support a health claim by regulation or a qualified health claim, we encourage you to submit a petition pursuant to section 403(r)(4) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 343(r)(4)]; see also FDA’s guidance on qualified health claims, which includes the procedures for submitting qualified health claim petitions.
(Source: FDA website)