Probiota Americas

NYAG affair will have implications for probiotics suppliers, exec says

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Probiotic

According to one prominent executive, for the probiotics industry, the fallout from the NYAG affair should be fairly straightforward:  Make sure you know how to do what you’re supposed to do in the first place. Identify and count, it’s as simple as that.

“What’s going on in New York is going to be important across the industries.  For the probiotic industry, the response is going to be fairly straightforward,”​ said Mike Bush, senior vice president of Ganeden Biotech, which supplies its proprietary Bacillus coagulans ingredient branded as Ganeden BC30.  Bush spoke with NutraIngredients-USA at the recent Vitafoods Europe trade show in Geneva, Switzerland and will be participating in a panel at NutraIngredients-USA’s Probiota Americas event which starts today in San Diego, CA. 

“Counting and identifying probiotic organisms to the strain specific level is blocking and tackling, so I would hope that every probiotic company that sells a known strain knows not only how to count it but to identify it to the genetic level. Not everybody does that,”​ Bush said.

Supply chain pressure

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has put the industry under pressure by asserting that high profile companies such as GNC, Walmart, Target and Walgreens were selling botanical supplements that contained little or none of the stated herb that was on the label.  While the fact that Schneiderman based this assertion solely on a widely-discredited DNA barcoding testing methodology seems to be fairly certain (the NYAG office has not yet released full details of the tests), the affair has called supply chain integrity across the industry into doubt, and not only for botanical supplements. Couple that with a recent study that asserted that stray bits of gluten could be found in a number of probiotic supplements, including at least one that was making a gluten-free claim, and you have a situation in which probiotic suppliers need to take a hard, second look at their specifications and testing procedures.

Bush said there was a push several years ago to establish through USP a monograph system that would make public the ways in strains were identified and counted.

“When you are looking at a a probiotic supplier and they can’t immediately tell you yes, we can enumerate and identify this particular organism, you may want to look for another probiotic supplier,”​ Bush said.

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