WASHINGTON – Two industry groups have partnered to develop best practices for the labeling, storing and stability testing of dietary supplements and functional foods containing probiotics. The guidelines are voluntary.
“We believe these guidelines will raise the bar for the probiotic industry,” said George Paraskevakos, executive director of the International Probiotics Association. “In working with the C.R.N. (Council for Responsible Nutrition) to develop this critical list of recommendations, we’ve demonstrated that the dietary supplement and functional food industry is proactive and responsible when it comes to meaningful self-regulation. These guidelines reflect the most up-to-date science and industry thinking, and will continue to be updated as best practices evolve.”
The labeling recommendations say the amount of probiotics in a product should be expressed in colony-forming units (C.F.U.s). The labeled quantity should reflect the amount of live microorganisms at the end of the stated shelf life, not at the time of manufacture. The label should identify the genus, species and strain for each microorganism in the product.
The guidelines say stability testing should be conducted under the same temperature conditions as the recommended storage conditions on the finished product label. Products should contain 100% of the quantity of probiotics declared on the product label at the end of shelf life, except for any variability attributable to methods.
The guidelines say manufacturers should provide storage and handling instructions to consumers, taking into account individual formulations and packaging. Probiotic organisms generally are sensitive to change in temperature and humidity.
The guidelines define probiotics in accordance with the definition from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization: “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit in the host.”
The International Probiotics Association brings together probiotic sector stakeholders, including academics, scientists, health care professionals, consumers, industry and regulators. The Washington-based Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade association, represents more than 150 dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and companies providing services to the manufacturers and suppliers.The guidelines may be found here.