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DuPont hopes win on Swiss probiotic claim will help unlock EFSA process

By Hank Schultz and Shane Starling , 03-Jun-2014
Last updated on 03-Jun-2014 at 20:58 GMT2014-06-03T20:58:02Z

DuPont hopes win on Swiss probiotic claim will help unlock EFSA process

DuPont has won official approval for probiotic-based gut health claims based on its strains in Switzerland after working with a local retailer.  The company hopes the latest victory will help unlock the process of approving probiotic health claims for Europe as a whole.

After last year approving a Danone gut health claim for Activia spoonable yogurt, Switzerland once again did what the rest of the European Union has not done, and approved a gut health claim.

DuPont, based in Wilmington, Delaware, proclaimed itself to be the first ingredients supplier to do so in Europe.

Fabienne Saadane-Oaks, vice president Health and Protection, DuPont Nutrition & Health said she hoped the Swiss decision would help inform the process of the evaluation of probiotic claims by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

"Strictly speaking, this claim is just for Switzerland," Oaks told us. "Will it influence EFSA? I certainly hope so. Can I guarantee it? Certainly not. But we are in a very concentrated dialogue with EFSA about what they require in terms of science."

Leverage with EFSA?

Speaking at the Health Ingredients Europe trade show in Amsterdam in 2013, EFSA's health claims panel chair, professor Ambroise Martin, said a positive claim may be just around the corner.

“There is no problem to accept intermediate people [those that are stressed in some way but not technically sick or diseased] and with the developments in genomic science it is my feeling that we will soon positively assess a specific claim with a specific strain in a specific context, taking into an account a specific context and all the opinions that have gone before.”

“With this in mind someone could come with a basic dossier about transit time for instance. I have no doubt about this in the short to medium term. It could happen inside one or two years.”

Last year Swiss authorities found that the probiotic strain used in Activia, B. animalis CNCM-I_2494, gave a health benefit in healthy adults who consumed two portions of 125g a day.

The claim read: “Activia contributes to digestive comfort by reducing transit time and bloating.”

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