Lina Paulionis, senior scientific and regulatory consultant at Intertek Cantox’s Canada bureau, made the controversial assertion at the Probiotic Summit in Brussels yesterday in response to an exasperated presentation from veteran probiotic academic, Professor Ger Rijkers.
The Dutch researcher compared EFSA’s dismissive treatment of probiotic science – no probiotic has yet won a positive opinion from the agency - to a roulette game where there were no winners because every number was ‘0’, prompting Paulionis to question the peer-review publishing process.
Paulionis acknowledged the EU system was tough in a presentation that compared it with US and Canadian regimes, but said EFSA’s hard line was also shining a light on failures in peer-review mechanisms.
“I think EFSA has uncovered a big flaw in the peer-review process and really uncovering limitations in peer-reviewed publications,” she said, adding, “I think it is overrated in the sense that peer reviewers are not given any guidance on what exactly to critically appraise a manuscript for…”
That said, Paulionis said good science did exist and was capable of winning health claims under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR), if dossiers are compiled in the right way.