Proposed Policy: Definition and Energy Value for Dietary Fibre

Health Canada is proposing revised dietary fibre definitions to replace the current fibre definition in place since the mid 1980s, before many new fibre-like substances were developed or considered as fibre sources. Products such as oligosaccharides, resistant starch and synthetic substances, based on their chemical nature and their physiological properties, are now recognized as dietary fibres by some scientific bodies (Codex, IOM) and other governments (Australia, New Zealand), but not in Canada. The revised fibre definitions, developed in response to advances in scientific knowledge about dietary fibre, food industry innovation, and regulatory activities in other jurisdictions, will bring Canada up-to-date with international standards. The proposed changes will provide consumers with more choices of dietary fibre-enriched foods, provided that the new products are shown to have beneficial physiological effects.

In addition, in response to scientific knowledge about the energy value of dietary fibre, Health Canada is proposing to adopt the caloric value of 2 kcal/gram for dietary fibre.

The purpose of this consultation is to seek comments from stakeholders and other interested parties on this proposal.

The input from this consultation will be used to finalize a fibre policy harmonized with that used in other jurisdictions. This will provide the food industry the flexibility to sell novel dietary fibre sources in Canada, and in turn will provide consumers more opportunities to optimize their intake of dietary fibre.

How to get involved

This consultation is open for comment starting December 9, 2010 until February 7, 2011 (60 calendar days). Comments on these proposals should be submitted electronically by February 7, 2011 to:

Nutrition Evaluation Division
Bureau of Nutritional Sciences
Food Directorate
Health Canada

Consultation Document

Reporting to Canadians

Health Canada will make the results of this consultation available on this Web site. If you have any questions, contact us at

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