SunOpta's Applications Team and Regulatory Department have answered some commonly asked questions about SunOpta fibers.
Q : Will I have to adjust the amount of water in my bakery product formula as a result of adding fiber? If yes, how much water do I need to add?
A: Yes, the water level will have to be adjusted to obtain good dough or batter consistency. Water absorption of doughs with fiber is higher than the water absorption of doughs without fiber. SunOpta's fibers absorb different amounts of water depending on the type of the fiber. SunOpta can provide guidelines for the percent of extra water that has to be added per percent of fiber.
Q: How much fiber do I need to use to achieve an "excellent source" of fiber nutrient content claim in the final bakery product?
A: The amount of fiber necessary to achieve the excellent source of fiber in a bakery product depends on multiple factors: the quantity of other ingredients in your product formula, the amount of water used, serving size of the product, moisture loss or targeted moisture level after baking. The amount of fiber cannot be calculated universally for all bakery products, but it can be calculated for each product using any nutritional software. SunOpta's Applications Team can provide general guidelines for different types of product and provide assistance with determining the right amount and type of fiber for your product.
Q: Which SunOpta fibers are approved as novel fibers for use in Canada to make claims?
A: Canadian Harvest Oat Fiber 300-58 and 770, SunOpta Pea Fiber (manufactured by Best Cooking Pulses) and Barley Balance are approved as novel fibers in Canada.
Q: Are your fibers natural for foods regulated by the FDA?
A: The FDA has not formally defined the term "natural" or restricted its use. The Agency did however provide some informal interpretation guidance in 1993 as part of the regulations implementing the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act. It states, "The Agency will maintain its current policy not to restrict the use of the term "natural" except for added color, synthetic substances, and flavors as provided in §101.22. Additionally, the agency will maintain its policy regarding the use of the term "natural" as meaning nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food. Further, at this time the agency will continue to distinguish between natural and artificial flavors as outlined in §101.22."
Our fibers are derived from oats, soybeans, peas, rice and barley, which are all naturally grown raw materials. We do not add to or include any synthetic or artificial ingredients to our finished product that would not normally be expected to be there. For these reasons, we believe that the following fibers are natural ingredients:
- Canadian Harvest® Oat Fiber 200 series
- Canadian Harvest® Oat Fiber 300 series
- Canadian Harvest® Oat Fiber 610
- Canadian Harvest® Oat Fiber 640
- Canadian Harvest® Oat Fiber 770
- SunOpta® Organic Soy Fiber S-710
- SunOpta® Soy Fiber S-200
- SunOpta® Pea Fiber
- SunOpta® Rice Fiber
- Barley Balance
Q: Are your fibers considered natural for USDA regulated foods?
A: The USDA definition for "natural" states the term "may be used on labeling for meat products and poultry products, provided the applicant for such labeling demonstrates that: (1) the product does not contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, or chemical preservative (as defined in 21 CFR 101.22), or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient; and (2) the product and its ingredients are not more than minimally processed. Minimal processing may include: (a) those traditional processes used to make food edible or to preserve it or to make it safe for human consumption, e.g. …drying… or (b) those physical process which do not fundamentally alter the raw product and/or only separate a whole, intact food into component parts…"
We believe that the following fibers are natural ingredients per the USDA:
- Canadian Harvest® Oat Fiber 200
- SunOpta® Soy Fiber S-710
- SunOpta® Pea Fiber 300
- Barley Balance™
These products are derived from whole oats, soybeans, barley or peas which are naturally grown raw materials. We do not add to or include any synthetic or artificial ingredients to our finished product that would not normally be expected to be in natural oats, soybeans, barley or peas.
Q: Are your fibers gluten-free?The following fibers are gluten-free based on the US FDA proposed rule*.
Canadian Harvest Oat Fibers 610, 640, 770, 780
SunOpta Soy Fiber S-200
SunOpta Organic Soy Fiber S-710
SunOpta Pea Fiber 300
SunOpta Cellulose Fiber
SunOpta Rice Fiber
*The FDA published a Proposed Rule for the definition of "gluten-free" in January 2007 stating that "gluten" is defined as the proteins, prolamins and glutelins, which naturally occur in a "prohibited grain" and that may cause adverse health effects in a person with celiac disease. They go on to define what grains are considered "prohibited grains", excluding oat from the list, specifically stating the "FDA is not proposing to include oats in the definition of a prohibited grain." The FDA goes onto state that the term "gluten-free" for a food bearing this claim in its labeling does not contain any one of the following:
- An ingredient that does not contain a prohibitive grain;
- An ingredient that is derived from a prohibitive grain that has not been processed to remove gluten;
- An ingredient that is derived from a prohibitive grain that has been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 ppm or more gluten in the food; or
- 20 ppm or more gluten.
Finally, this is currently a proposed rule, not a regulation, for the definition of "gluten-free". The situation is that the FDA has not objected to the use of the term "gluten-free" in labeling of foods as long as the claim is truthful and not misleading when it is made. The precedent and use of the proposed definition has been in place for several years.