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Eurofins' new analysis method for dietary fibre nominated by Codex Alimentarius as a global standard

Improved quality assurance through the analysis of all dietary fibre with the AOAC Standard Method 2017.16/ICC Standard 185

The updated dietary fibre analysis, AOAC Standard Method 2017.16/ICC Standard 185, co-developed by the Eurofins Expertise Centre for Complex Carbohydrates & Chemistry (CCC), has been nominated as a worldwide standard for the analysis of classic and complex dietary fibres. The Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and Sampling recently placed dietary fibre analysis on the official agenda of the international Codex Alimentarius Commission, which will make a decision on the analysis. Its adoption would result in an end to international differences between analysis results for dietary fibre amounts.

Food manufacturers may claim that their product is 'high fibre'  or a 'source of fibre' if the product can be shown to contain sufficient fibre. To date, information provided on product labels varies due to the complexity of fibre measurement, the use of different measurement methods, and differences in international regulations. A worldwide consensus on the amount of dietary fibre in food products would enable unambiguous labelling and transparent trade.

The Codex Alimentarius ensures clarity by providing advice that is frequently adopted by local and regional legislation, and thus also forms the basis for worldwide regulations. Eurofins has now been using the analysis method for more than seven months as a validated test under ISO 17025. As the Codex Alimentarius fibre analysis is likely to be regarded as the official method, Eurofins has seen that other countries are now adopting the new method in their legislation.

Information on the amount of dietary fibre in products is important for consumers and buyers. Dietary fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate and has a positive effect on digestion. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

‘High in fibre’ product claims
The predecessor to the new analysis method, the AOAC Standard Method 2009.01, is not able to provide complete information on some types of low molecular weight fibres, such as soluble maize fibre and inulin. With the new method, the energy value of a product can be lower and the fibre content higher. This is important in order to provide correct energy values on the label or to claim that a product is 'rich in fibre'. Multi-laboratory trials show that AOAC Standard Method 2017.16 has a lower measurement uncertainty and determines dietary fibre content to a higher degree of accuracy. The new analysis can be applied to almost all product groups and measures all dietary fibres very accurately.

One official analysis method per product group
The Codex Alimentarius was established in 1963 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The organisation establishes international food standards, guidelines, and codes of conduct for safe, qualitative and fair international food trade and global health. The Codex Alimentarius selects one official analysis method per product group. Only analysis methods that meet very high requirements are used as a dispute method. If a discussion arises between a purchaser and supplier about the composition of a product, the official Codex method is accepted worldwide as the method of choice.

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