EFSA health claims panellist edits probiotic claims book

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Health claims, Nutrition

EFSA health claims panellist edits probiotic claims book
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) health claim panellist, professor Seppo Salminen, has co-edited a book investigating probiotic science and health claims, with a focus on regional differences.

The book, Probiotics and Health Claims​, looks into the history of probiotics that stems back 1000s of years, the growth of the probiotics industry, the contemporary body of science, and how that is being interpreted in the law.

Probiotic experts recruited for the 360-page book include Mary Ellen Sanders, Barry R Goldin, Christophe Lacroix, Célia Lucia Ferreira, Alice H Lichtenstein, Yoshimi Benno, Anu Lahteenmäki-Uutela, Jashbhai B Prajapati, Lorenzo Morelli, Herwig Bachmann, Helmut Viernstein and Hania Szajewska who give perspectives on the sector from China, Japan, India, the US, Brazil and more.

Professor Salminen is the head of the Functional Foods Forum at the University of Turku in Finland as well as being a member of EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). His co-editor is Professor Wolfgang Kneifel, the president of Austrian Association of Food and Biotechnologists and professor in the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University​of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria.

“Probiotics have a long history in nutrition and medicine,”​ said professor Kneifel. “However, the health benefits have only been demonstrated recently, following the application of proven standards of clinical assessment.”

With large sections of the probiotic industry and academia calling for more dialogue with the NDA and clarity about probiotic health claims criteria under the 2006 nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR), Professor Salminen’s participation in the book will attract a certain level of interest.

The professor participated in another book with published Wiley Blackwell called Handbook of Probiotics and Prebiotics, which is in its second edition.

The current text​ contains chapters including:

  • The World’s Oldest Probiotic: Perspectives for Health Claims
  • Probiotics and Health Claims: Challenges for Tailoring their Efficacy
  • The Role of Meta-analysis in the Evaluation of Clinical Trials on Probiotics
  • Applied Studies with Probiotics: Fundamentals for Meeting the Health Claims
  • Probiotics and Health Claims: How to Be Met by SMEs?
  • Probiotic Products: How Can They Meet the Requirements?

“In recent years many new probiotic applications have emerged across the world, both for food and pharmaceutical science, and it is important to evaluate and understand the scientific standards for the many health claims made,”​ said Professor Kneifel. “Through this book we have brought experts together from across the global markets to achieve that goal.”

So far the NDA has not issued a probiotic or probiotic-based positive opinion in more than 300 dossiers it has assessed.

In a recent podcast interview with NutraIngredients Professor Salminen highlighted one of the problems the panel had encountered when he said: “People ask for claims for ‘prevents’ which is already strictly out of the scope of [the NHCR].So it’s important to continue the discussion and for all parties to thoroughly understand the regulation.”

Pre- and Probiotics virtual conference

Such matters will be discussed at the Pre- & Probiotics virtual conference on March 29, 2011. To find out more and attend this free event click here.

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