Nothing new there perhaps, but the issue was the primary motivation for around 220 academics, company scientists, consultants and those with a commercial interest working in pro- and prebiotics to attend EFSA’s Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) panel-hosted meeting in Amsterdam.
While frustration – even bafflement - was apparent at the NDA’s treatment thus-far of probiotic and prebiotic claims and science under the nutrition and health claims regulation [NHCR], Saarela, joined by NDA panel member, Seppo Salminen, explained why the issue of disease and its prevention had become so contentious.
“People ask for claims for ‘prevents’ which is already strictly out of the scope of [the NHCR],” said Salminen. “So it’s important to continue the discussion and for all parties to thoroughly understand the regulation.”
That said, the NDA panel was assessing submissions case-by-case, especially in the light of emerging science that had revealed more about the behaviour and impact of particular bacterial strains.
“At the moment it is difficult to separate these small groups of bacteria from the rest,” said Saarela, noting this ambiguity had prompted the NDA to focus instead on pathogens.