Fructo Oligosaccharide

Like many of the starch-based sugar replacers, the term “fructo-oligosaccharide” represents a family of ingredients, not a single product. Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) are manufactured by fragmenting a large molecule. In the case of FOS, that molecule (polysaccharide) is inulin. Inulin is a polysaccharide in which a single glucose unit ends a chain of up to sixty fructose units linked together.

Inulin occurs naturally in chicory, Jerusalem artichokes, wheat, onions and bananas. Chicory and Jerusalem artichoke are the commercial sources of FOS products. Since commercial FOS products can have various numbers of fructose units linked to the ending glucose unit, the Food and Drug Administration has ruled that “fructooligosaccharide” is the term approved for an ingredient list.

FDA has agreed with manufacturers’ conclusions that FOS products are safe food ingredients. Fructo-oligosaccharides may be used in hard and soft candies, baked goods like biscuits, cakes, cookies and crackers, frozen dairy desserts, cereals, jams and jellies, flavored and unflavored milks, and soups. Additionally, FOS has been approved for use a binder and stabilizer in a variety of meat and poultry products.

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