Position paper on probiotics

I.A. Tijsseling, P.R. Pekelharing, F.M. Rombouts

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Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics, used to supplement normal daily nutrition, are therefore an important element in consumer health and should be made available as widely as possible. The regulatory status of probiotics has yet to be established on an international level. That is also the finding of a report by the Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations and the World health organization (FAO/WHO) evaluating the health and nutritional properties of probiotics. Different European countries currently have differing national regulations for probiotics. This position paper asks for harmonized legislation on the use of probiotics as food supplements, so as to promote free trade in probiotics between European countries. In a draft proposal on the regulation of food health claims, the European Commission has already recognized probiotic bacteria as having the status of nutrients. In addition, probiotics in powder, capsule or tablet form fall within the definition of 'food supplements' found in the European food supplements directive (2002/46/EC). So far, this legislation has only been elaborated for vitamins and minerals. This position paper asks for this legislation to be expanded to include probiotics. Given that the food supplements directive specifies safety and quality requirements for food supplements, it is these aspects of probiotics that this position paper particularly discusses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-23
JournalAgro Food Industry Hi-Tech
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • double-blind
  • safety
  • products
  • strains
  • trial

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    Tijsseling, I. A., Pekelharing, P. R., & Rombouts, F. M. (2005). Position paper on probiotics. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech, 16(4), 21-23. http://www.gutflora.org/docs/NPN_position_paper_probiotics_jan05.pdf