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Americas: Associations release guidelines for handling probiotic items

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The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry, and the International Probiotics Association (IPA) have developed scientifically-based best practices guidelines for the labeling, storing, and stability testing of dietary supplements and functional foods containing probiotics.

As probiotics are quickly gaining popularity, the guidelines are designed to ensure probiotic manufacturers can consistently create high-quality products that consumers can be confident in.

“We trust the industry will embrace these guidelines and integrate them into their labeling and manufacturing practices,” said Andrea Wong, VP, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN.

“As more and more consumers incorporate probiotic products into their daily health regimen, we felt it was essential to develop a roadmap for companies producing and marketing these products to ensure that they meet consistent, high-quality standards.”

“In working with CRN 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,” said George Paraskevakos, executive director, IPA.

“These guidelines reflect the most up-to-date science and industry thinking, and will continue to be updated as best practices evolve.”

Stressing the importance of providing meaningful information to consumers, the guidelines recommend that the quantitative amount(s) of probiotics in a product should be expressed in colony forming units (CFUs).

“CFU is the scientifically accepted unit of measure for probiotics. Labeling probiotic products in CFUs gives consumers the best information possible when it comes to the viable microorganisms present in the product throughout shelf life,” noted Dr. Wong.

Additionally, the guidelines’ stability testing recommendations are designed to ensure that the stated shelf life of a given probiotic product is scientifically-supported.

Storage and handling recommendations advise manufacturers to consider individual product formulations and packaging, as well as storage and transport environments.