Guest article

Probiotics go mainstream at Expo West

By George Paraskevakos, Executive Director of the International Probiotics Association

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/frentusha
© iStock/frentusha
Probiotics have truly arrived. From Dr. Oz earlier this year, to the Natural Product Expo West show in Anaheim, one might say it is the invasion of the microorganism armies.  As I walked the floor at NPEW this year and looked at all the exhibitors from food, to ingredients and finished products it almost seemed that the new buzz word ‘probiotics’ was in every stand.

From an IPA perspective I really cannot complain as our industry is hitting its stride and mainstreaming; who would complain with exponential growth year over year and forecasted to continue as such for the next 5 years if not more, especially once the flood gates open and new markets come on board. But it can be a minefield when trying to sift through all the products, formulation blends, genus, species, and strains to name but a few for the uninitiated.

While IPA is happy with the market growth and huge interest in probiotics, we also need to guard against misinformation of misrepresentation of these ingredients, in order to protect the golden future of these beneficial bacteria.

Where does one begin? Well for starters the IPA earlier this year alongside CRN published voluntary best practice guidelines for the nutritional supplement sector. I tell everyone I have spoken to from industry folks to health care professionals, these guidelines can be used as a checklist of items from helping companies to formulate products to Health Care Professional’s recommending probiotic products which follow these labeling recommendations. These guidelines were presented to the FDA underlining that they are voluntary but our member companies have supported.

IPA’s work does not stop there – we are continuing to raise the bar for quality as we have begun work on a testing standard for microbial and pathogenic analysis.  With most of these tests already validated IPA will assemble a panel which should make it easy for our member companies to follow and again making it easier to choose a quality probiotic product.

Technical standards

The IPA-CRN best practices document can be downloaded here: 

Best Practices Guidelines for Probiotics_IPA

Best Practices Guidelines for Probiotics_IPA.pdf 0.57 MB

Moreover since we know that probiotic ingredients are truly unique, we are also developing technical standards on what manufacturing quality probiotic formulas should look like. There are the GMP’s that are a must or should be at minimum baseline for all the manufacturers of probiotic products, but stable probiotic blends and dosage formats is a whole new set of boxes to check off. These quality standards from our technical committee will help with providing consumers safe and quality made probiotic products, facilitate in creating manufacturing standards which industry and IPA members can abide by and provide a guide to regulatory bodies. 

In closing I believe we are truly involved in the best ingredient sector out there. Historically we know bacteria and their usage has provided many benefits and have been used by many populations. Presently and even more so looking forward to the future, we see the science is unraveling great benefits from these amazing bugs, and we are but at the cusp of it all.

As the global voice of probiotics, IPA will ensure the probiotic products introduced into the market are of high quality, provide benefits to the consumers, are  substantiated with solid science and do not become just another magic bullet with the promise that will unlock the key to curing all. 

For more information about the IPA, please click HERE​.

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 event will be held in San Francisco, June 7-9, 2017. For more information and to register, please click HERE​.

Probiota Americas 2017

 

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