Collaborations, workshops and continuing outreach: IPA celebrates key achievements

By George Paraskevakos, executive director of the International Probiotics Association

- Last updated on GMT

Collaborations, workshops and continuing outreach: IPA celebrates key achievements
In a few months’ time I will be celebrating my two-year anniversary running IPA. Time flies when you are passionate about what you do! From a transition period in 2015 to the significant strides we made in 2016 – we truly are living up to being the Global Voice of Probiotics.

It was reported from many sources probiotics are the fastest growing category in the dietary and food supplement space both in the US and across the globe. Figures varied but we did touch the interest of many; from varied industries, government regulators, the research community and health care professionals to name but a few.

It was equally a year of collaborations. IPA formed a solid partnership with Probiota to put on the joint IPA World Congress-Probiota Americas​ event which also extended across the Probiota franchise in assisting with conference programming. Promoting accurate and right messages for our industry is key consequently forming alliances with other event hosts to create IPA-supported programming for shows and conferences around the world was an important initiative. Additional important collaborations were with other associations in CRN and ISAPP​, which we hope to continue in 2017.

Achieving face time with as many industry stakeholders was another one of IPA’s objectives. Our first IPA town hall and Probiotic resource center during the Supply Side West show helped create that personal one on one opportunity. The booth brought together information about probiotics through scheduled talks within a personal amphitheater, and our town hall for IPA members was the place where we gave a state of affairs talk and then members were able to network and get to connect with each other over a beverage.

Workshops

Following in the steps of the Brazilian authority Anvisa workshop we also were able to present at a Latin American conference in Panama City in front of twelve governments from that region, and also held a one-day probiotic workshop in DC with FDA and FTC present​. Other initiatives of note was IPA’s citizen petition to amend the labelling of probiotics from milligrams to CFU​, the completion of the NDIN draft comments pertaining to probiotics and of course our work in Europe is ongoing through IPA Europe’s Brussels office. All-important endeavors with regulatory agencies which we wish to continue and build upon in 2017.

Looking forward to next year IPA will continue to build value for its membership in continuing outreach activities to all stakeholders. Building trust through education activities, workshops and continued presence in the sector will be again one of our top priorities. Publishing articles and position statements will also be important in continued value – as we are seeing new analytical and identification technologies (genomic analysis and gene detection of probiotics, flow cytometry, etc…). IPA would like to reinforce the importance of staying at the cusp of the new technological evolution for our sector.

Probiotics ©  spawns
Image © iStock/spawns

Membership increases

Closing out the year 2016 IPA saw an increase of over 50% in membership from previous year as we are now 63 companies strong. To better serve IPA companies, current and future we’ve also added a new staff member in Elisa Fernandez to help with member relations and communications. Succinctly the future in our sector is very promising as probiotic research continues to grow in directions we couldn’t even fathom five years ago, it has caught the attention of many multinational pharmaceutical companies and one can only wonder which direction that will take in just another five years. 

As I sit in an airport tapping away on my keyboard I cannot help but think about ‘Up in the Air’ – for those of you who saw the film, same first name but a very different George. This past year’s life on the road was needed and important in IPA’s growth which was fueled by the objective and determination to continue elevating IPA’s global awareness as the probiotic industry’s voice.

Wishing all my friends family and acquaintances a merry holiday season and definitely a healthy 2017.

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