The article 13.5 claim read: “Consumption of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (ATCC 53103) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) helps to reduce Herpes labialis recurrence.”
Herpes labialis, also known as cold sores, is a type of herpes causing small blisters or sores on or around the mouth.
It is subject to some social stigmatism due to its relation to the sexually transmitted type 2 herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), which more commonly causes genital infections. While cold sores can also be caused by HSV-2, this is rare.
Most cold sores disappear within seven to ten days without treatment, yet some people experience recurrent cold sores in the same place.
A 2009 US study found the global prevalence of HSV1 increased consistently with age, reaching 40% by age 15 and 60% to 90% in older adults.
A history of probiotic claims
There have been 41 EU health claim applications concerning the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus – all of which have been unsuccessful.
Much of the attempted probiotic claims related to gut health.
This was the first health claim application across all ingredients for prevention of cold sores.
According to EFSA’s register of questions the claim was now under consideration although an exact deadline was not given.
Granarolo did not respond to our request for comment in time for the publication of this article.