Health Claims Substantiation for Probiotic and Prebiotic Products

Gut Microbes. May-Jun 2011;2(3):127-33. doi: 10.4161/gmic.2.3.16174. Epub 2011 May 1.


The topic of "Health Claims Substantiation for Probiotic and Prebiotic Products" was discussed at the 8 (th) annual International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) meeting. The topic is especially timely considering that the regulatory review process for health benefit claims on probiotic and prebiotic products in Europe has not resulted in a single claim being approved (120 negative opinions on probiotic claims and 19 negative opinions on prebiotic claims through February 2011). This situation in Europe and elsewhere has driven companies to seek clarity on a research path that would stand up to scientific scrutiny as well as satisfy regulatory demands for health claim substantiation. It can be challenging to negotiate rigid regulatory distinctions, such as between health and disease, when these states are more realistically represented by continua. One research approach focused on improved homeostasis is explored as a statistically robust approach to measuring physiological parameters in healthy populations, which are the required target for food and supplement claims. Diverse global regulatory frameworks complicate this issue, and harmonization of different approaches globally would simplify requirements for industry, decrease consumer confusion and improve the scientific framework for the research community to set up appropriate research pathways. This report highlights key points from this discussion.

Publication types

  • Congress

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Product Safety / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Consumer Product Safety / standards
  • Dietary Supplements / standards*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Drug*
  • Legislation, Food*
  • Prebiotics / analysis
  • Prebiotics / standards*
  • Probiotics / analysis
  • Probiotics / standards*


  • Prebiotics