Representatives from the International Probiotics Association (IPA) recently announced a proposal for probiotic guidelines pertaining to the food and dietary supplement markets.
This important IPA activity took place at the 39th session of the CCNFSDU (Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses) meeting in Berlin (December 4-8), which was attended by government representatives, observers and experts from 66 member states and 41 international organisations.
The IPA introduced the proposal to initiate a dedicated "New Work on Harmonised Probiotic Guidelines for Use in Foods and Dietary Supplements" on Wednesday 6 December.
The IPA delegation was successful in achieving a positive reaction and support to this proposal from many national delegations, herewith securing the initiation of this new work on probiotics.
The proposal received the support of Argentina, which requested to take the lead on the activities and committed to preparing a structured document on the content and scope of the new work on probiotics for the next CCNFSDU meeting next year. The work will include updates to the generally accepted probiotic definition.
The current FAO/WHO expert panel definition for probiotics from 2001/2002 is the accepted reference point for the probiotic community.
This definition is well respected from not only the probiotic community, but also the scientific and regulatory communities since its inception.
However, it only provides a very general guidance for the recognition of the health benefit and consumer demand for probiotic foods, in a world where a global regulatory landscape is not harmonised.
Owing to the technological and scientific advances within the probiotic industry since the FAO/WHO work, a broader scope is required to include these advancements into new guidelines.
“As the activities within Codex are strictly regulated and protocol oriented, we expect this work will be long-term, but the IPA considers it an essential part of the process for the harmonisation of the probiotic framework,” said George Paraskevakos, Executive Director for the IPA.
“Moreover, the new guidelines will provide essential requirements and specifications for probiotics that will not only inform consumers, but also ensure fair practices in food trade with the eventual development of a Codex definition, and the possible progression into a Standard at the Codex level.”
More information on the guideline proposal can be found here.