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Critical quality considerations for probiotics offered in new draft FCC standards
Date:1/3/2012

Rockville, Md. -- With strong consumer interest in probioticsand new manufacturer innovations for incorporating these ingredients into a broader array of food productsnew standards to help ensure the quality of probiotic food ingredients are being proposed for public review and comment. The draft standards, which will be included in the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), offer comprehensive information that is essential when utilizing probiotics as food ingredients, including testing to confirm the identity upon which probiotic product safety and health claims are based. Published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), FCC is an international compendium of quality specifications for food ingredients.

Essential quality specifications such as identification and enumeration (microbe count), as well as intended uses in food, safety, regulatory status and purity of probiotics and other microbial food cultures, are included in the new FCC Appendix, titled Microbial Food Cultures Including Probiotics. These specifications are available in the latest FCC Forum, the free-access, online vehicle through which proposed FCC standards are published for public review and comment (see www.usp.org/fcc/).

Proper identification with probiotics is important because safety studies are most often based on the genus/species or strain level, so it is critical that manufacturers know exactly which microorganism they are incorporating into their food product to ensure safety. Identification also is important in supporting purported health claims. Given that many different strains of microorganisms are cultured and have been tested and used in foods, any supporting studies for justifying health claims are at the specific strain level. For any claimed health benefit, manufacturers should be able to confirm that what they are using in a probiotic food product is indeed the strain tested. Enumeration is similarly important because any
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Contact: Francine Pierson
fp@usp.org
301-816-8588
US Pharmacopeia
Source:Eurekalert

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