Dietary fibre represents that part of the carbohydrate in food which is not digested in the small intestine. A widely accepted working definition of dietary fibre is the sum of lignin and polysaccharides. Intense interest in dietary fibre has arisen from claims of its benefit in control of bowel function, reduced risk of intestinal cancer, reduced plasma cholesterol and glucose levels and from the movement towards the consumption of more fibre and less fat.
Controversy over the choice of methods comes from difficulty in relating specific fibre components to their physiological function and the conflicting requirements for robust and convenient analytical procedures for routine analysis.
For food labelling purposes there is an urgent need for the Community to adopt a single method for dietary fibre to allow comparability of values. Essentially, the choice lies between the AOAC procedure, widely used in continental Europe the Englyst method which has been recommended by the UK and the Uppsala method used in the Scandinavian countries.
The objective is to produce a range of reference materials in which dietary fibre and its components are characterised by the most commonly used procedures to allow quality control in food industry and the public control laboratories.
Wholemeal and rye flour and haricot bean reference materials have been certified for major dietary components including dietary fibre by the AOAC method in project 239. This project will address more complex foods especially cereal and vegetable type ones. The first phase will consist of a detailed method study which started in 1991.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
M16 OPU Manchester
TW11 0LY Teddington
NR4 7UQ Norwich
CB2 2DH Cambridge
28220 Majadahonda (Madrid)
6201 GA Maastricht
6700 AE Wageningen
HP12 3QR High Wycombe
3700 AC Zeist
MK44 1LQ Sharnbrook