IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas

‘Amazing growth’ but regulatory climates complicate probiotic potential, says IPA chief

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Image © iStockPhoto / Jezperklauzen
Image © iStockPhoto / Jezperklauzen

Related tags Ipa world congress

Regulatory confusion, inappropriate headlines, and scientific transparency are just three of the big issues affecting the probiotics sector, says the executive director of the International Probiotics Association.

On the topic of the industry’s big issues, IPA’s George Paraskevakos said, “Our members companies are pulling their hair out trying to understand the regulations around the world. I’d love to get the regulators all on the same page.”

The upcoming IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas in Chicago May 31 – June 2 will feature a panel of regulators from key markets, including:
Dr Cara Welch, Senior Advisor, Office of Dietary Supplement Programs, CFSAN, FDA
Bruce Randall, Director, Bureau of Product Review and Assessment, Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate, Health Canada
Dr Valeriu Curtui, Head of Nutrition Unit, EFSA
Dr Leigh Henderson, Section Manager, Product Safety Standards, Food Standards Australia New Zealand
Dr Thalita Antony De Souza Lima, Head of Food Office, Brazilian Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA)

“IPA members are very excited to be in the same room with the panel of regulators,”​ said Paraskevakos. “And the fact that we’re getting buy-in from the regulators themselves shows that they want to learn about probiotics.”

The IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas runs May 31 – June 2 in Chicago.


George Paraskevakos, executive director of the International Probiotics Association

The program also features a lot of cutting edge science and analytic technology, and transparency with the science is also on Paraskevakos’ wish list of industry aims. “I’d like to get the science to be more transparent in order to be able to substantiate the well-being benefits of probiotic consumption,”​ he said. “Some companies are not reporting what they’re doing.”

From an analytical technology perspective, the program also features a presentation from Dr Christopher Elkins, Director of the Division of Molecular Biology at FDA’s CFSAN​ on next-generation tools for analyzing live microbial products, and a presentation by Dr Andrea Budde-Niekiel, curator of DuPont’s global culture collection (DGCC) on flow cytometry.

“Flow cytometry has all the potential to become a standard for the industry,” said Paraskevakos. “All the major players are already using flow cytometry in addition to plate counts.”

Market forces

The global probiotic market is incredibly robust. IPA has commissioned data from Euromonitor, which showed that, “across all regions if they’re not experiencing incredible growth, then they’re on their way to it”,​ said Paraskevakos.

However, Paraskevakos wants to see proper guidelines introduced and implemented that people can abide by for all aspects of probiotics, from quality to science to GMPs to labeling.

Healthcare practitioners

Another area that needs to improve is the understanding of probiotics and the microbiome by healthcare/ medical professionals. “IPA can play a huge role here,”​ said Paraskevakos. “The message is not being communicated by these professionals and we’re working hard to forge the necessary relationships.”

Some healthcare practitioners have already embraced the power of the microbiome, and examples of these will give presentations at the IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas, including Dr Robert Martindale, Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of General and Gastrointestinal Surgery, Oregon Health & Science University talking about the clinical use of probiotics, and Dr Keith Barrington, Neonatologist and clinical researcher, Sainte Justine University Health Center, and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Montreal talking about manipulating the microbiome in micro-premature babies.

IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas

Explore the probiotic scientific frontier, its evolution and commercial application in food, supplements and related product areas at the IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas. ​The eventwill be held in Chicago at the end of May. For more information and to register, please click HERE​.

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