I recently noticed that Benefiber contains wheat dextrin.Yet the label states that there are less than 10 ppm gluten in the container. My husband has been using Benefiber for five years. Is wheat dextrin considered safe?
It may seem contradictory to find wheat dextrin as an ingredient in Benefiber when it is also labeled gluten free. But here is the reasoning behind the gluten-free claim. The Benefiber website says the dextrin in Benefiber powder and caplets contains less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, an amount described as a “trace.” Currently in the US there is no law that governs how much gluten is allowed in a product labeled “gluten free.” The Food and Drug Administration is working on a law that proposes to define “gluten free” as anything with less than 20 ppm of gluten. The law will cover packaged food and food supplements regulated by the FDA. Under that definition, Benefiber would be considered gluten free. Benefiber only recently started using wheat dextrin instead of hydrolyzed guar gum. The change was made to increase the amount of fiber. For most of the five years your husband took Benefiber, it contained the guar gum, which is gluten free. Benefiber did jump the gun a little in already labeling a product that contains wheat as being gluten free. Without any definition for gluten free, the general rule has always been that a product could not be gluten free if it listed wheat as an ingredient. But the FDA said that since its proposed new rule with the 20 ppm cutoff has been made public, and since there are no federal regulations for gluten free, it would be unlikely to challenge a label like the one on Benefiber. The FDA did caution manufacturers about labeling products ”gluten-free” and also stating that they contain some amount of gluten because the label would be confusing to consumers at this point. Julie Masow, a spokesperson for Novartis, which makes Benefiber, noted the lack of federal regulations and said the label met an FDA standard of being truthful and not misleading. She also said the wheat dextrin is not wheat but a starch derived from wheat.