Probiotic health claims in the balance in EFSA meeting

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nda panel, Probiotic, Efsa

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is preparing to release opinions on three probiotic health claim applications, as panel members also meet to discuss their approach to the forthcoming gut health and immunity workshop.

The opinions are amongst a number of dossiers that will be examined later this week by EFSA’s panel on dietetic products, nutrition and allergies (NDA panel) as it holds its 35th plenary meeting.

Out of the six article 14 and 13.5 health claims applications up for possible adoption, three relate to probiotic strains. A number of article 13 opinions on microorganisms will also be up for discussion and possible adoption.

Plenary sessions, which occur approximately every month, provide the opportunity for the NDA panel to discuss all latest health claims developments, including voting on the latest round of opinions up for discussion. The goal is for these opinions to be adopted as soon as possible after the meeting.

Claims up for adoption

The latest session, which will take place between September 8 and 10 will examine the following article 14 and 13.5 claims:

  • “Fermented milk that contains the probiotic Lactobacillus casei DN 114001 / CNCM I-1518 Actimel” and “reduces the presence of Clostridium difficile toxins in the gut, associated with the incidence of acute diarrhea”
  • L. casei Shirota ​in a fermented milk product” and “maintain the normal conditions of upper respiratory tract”
  • “Sugar-free chewing gum” and “maintains tooth mineral which reduces the risk of dental caries”
  • “Sugar-free chewing gum” and “neutralises plaque acids which reduces the risk of dental caries”
  • “Synbio, a combination of L. rhamnosus ​IMC 501 and L. paracasei ​IMC 502” and “maintenance and improvement of intestinal function”
  • “Silymarin BIO-C” and “increase in the production of breast milk”

Probiotic workshop

The NDA panel will also discuss EFSA’s gut health and immunity workshop, due to be held in Amsterdam on December 2, 2010. The probiotics industry is hoping the workshop will provide some clarity on the fate of the category, which has had 284 article 13.1 probiotic strain health claim submissions rejected in two batches since October last year.

It is expected that discussions at this week’s plenary meeting will help form a briefing document or draft outline for the workshop, which aims to examine two specific issues:

  • Which claimed effects are beneficial physiological effects?
  • Which studies/outcome measures are appropriate for the substantiation of function claims and disease risk reduction claims?

Related topics: Regulation & Policy, Suppliers

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