The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it intends to propose that “Acacia (Gum Arabic),” also known as gum acacia, be included as part of the FDA's definition of dietary fiber. The action is being taken in response to a citizen petition from Nexira, Alland & Robert and Importers Service Corporation.
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 the 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, the FDA has determined that the scientific evidence supports that gum acacia can help reduce blood glucose and insulin levels after it is eaten with a meal containing a carbohydrate that raises blood glucose levels.
With this current notification for gum acacia, 18 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 the FDA intends to propose to be added to the definition of dietary fiber.
Seven of these fibers were identified in the Nutrition Facts label final rule as meeting the dietary fiber definition. Until the FDA completes rulemaking to add additional fibers to the regulatory definition of dietary fiber, the agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion for 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.