The Yoghurt and Live Fermented Milks Association (YLFA) attached a legal opinion to the letter that questions the ban that has been in place for terms like ‘probiotic’ and ‘prebiotic since December 14 last year.
Under the EU nutrition and health claims regulation (NHCR) they are deemed unauthorised, implied claims.
The YLFA said the ban had negative consequences for, “consumers, producers and the functioning of the internal market.”
They proposed a discussion about use of the term with a focus on conditions of use.
One solution was the use of ‘probiotic’ as a generic descriptor of products, something EU legal experts have previously said may be possible under article 1.4 of the NHCR.
While there is some leeway with existing products on-market able to sell-through, countries like Ireland have recently backed the EC position and said use of the word ‘probiotic’ would not be tolerated in marketing materials intended for consumers.
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) said other terms like ‘live cultures’ were similarly banned, although individual probiotic strains were usable.
The UK-based Provision Trade Federation backed the YLFA action, “to break the deadlock on this subject.”
Under the NHCR more than 1500 general function, article 13.1 claims have been banned across the EU since December 14 last year, including a blanket ban on probiotic and prebiotic gut and immunity claims. 222 have been approved, mostly vitamins and minerals.
Other YLFA members are Yakult, Yoplait and Chr Hansen.