The quality of probiotic supplements sold in Belgian pharmacies is set to rise following the establishment of a new voluntary programme to highlight products “consumers can trust”.
About 30% of probiotic supplements sold in Belgian pharmacies sent data to the programme creator, the European Scientific League for Probiotics (ESLP), all of which met the standards and will now bear the ESLP quality seal.
The ESLP said there was a need for such a programme to differentiate efficacious products from others that may be damaging the whole sector via publis disillusionment.
“There are bad quality products on the market so we wanted to put in place quality measures around dosage and strain verification so that consumers know they can trust the products with the seal,” Bruno Pot, PhD, told NutraIngredients after the scheme was officially launched this week.
Professor Pot, from the Pasteur Institute In Lille, France, said there was strong interest to expand the scheme to that country.
He said it was hoped other probiotic supplement manufacturers would sign up to the programme although he noted some had withdrawn from the QC assessment process in 2010 when some of the data requirements became apparent.
An ESLP statement said: “The label is awarded on the basis of the unsolicited application of companies marketing probiotics sold exclusively in pharmacies. The label emphasises the fact that the strains of the product are specific. It also certifies that these strains have been the subject of randomised, double-blind, clinical studies (involving the digestive and immune systems in both children and adults, and the female urogenital system) of which the results have been published in reputable scientific journals.”
“Finally, it certifies that, at the beginning of the validity period of the product, these specific strains are present in quantities corresponding to those advertised. The viability of the strains will then be checked 9 months later, in products sampled from boxes chosen randomly, when tests start at the wholesalers.”