Guest Article

IPA in 2023: A significant strategic shift to embrace the biotic world

© Gam1983 / Getty Images
© Gam1983 / Getty Images

Related tags International probiotics association Probiotics Prebiotics postbiotics microbiome Probiota

Life is like a box of chocolates, or is it? Not to challenge the expression made famous in the blockbuster hit “Forrest Gump” and reused often, but I feel once a plan is put in place with proper structure and frameworks to follow, you can have more visibility on what you’re going to get.

Early in 2023 saw the announcement of IPA’s shift into the biotic world, announced at our board in Barcelona which was held in parallel with the IPA World Congress and Probiota event. The expansion of our scope will include the “biotics” categories of prebiotics, postbiotics, and synbiotics within the human, infant, and companion animal segments of food and dietary supplements.

In pursuit of this strategic shift, IPA committed to developing the necessary frameworks and organizational structures. The aim is to foster a thriving future for the prebiotics, postbiotics, and synbiotics industry, all while respecting and preserving the focused efforts dedicated to the probiotic category that has been IPA’s primary focus since its establishment in 1999.

We will provide a platform for needs identification and prioritization, education, standard setting, and best practices for all the new categories and segments. The work has already begun as we have formed committees and task forces in all these areas with strategic documents and manuscripts being worked on currently. More to come in 2024.

It is a natural progression for the evolution of IPA as this expansion consolidates microbiome-modulating “biotics” categories under one umbrella organization. The association will look to bring in experts from these new categories developing best practices to the newly added segments while continuing to lead in Probiotics.

A stronger global presence

In other exciting news from our Probiotic work, one of the main goals for IPA was to expand representation geographically. On that front we have already initiated discussions for possible offices in China, South Korea, and Brazil. This seems timely for these are the areas of the world pegged to be within the five largest growth markets in the next 5 years.

Some work from a quality perspective includes our work at ISO​ for the creation of a standard for probiotic supplements continues in tandem with IPA’s technical committee, by being present at all ISO calls and plenary sessions.

The IPA manufacturing guidelines have been adopted into the GRMA​ public standards for manufacturing probiotic supplements and are currently going through GFSI​ benchmarking. These initiatives address one of our other main objectives of continuing the advancement of technological and quality practices.

All this is key as it ties in with a very important initiative at Codex​  and the work IPA proposed back in 2017. The formation of an electronic working group after this year’s meeting in March, enabled further our involvement to help in the development of harmonized probiotic guidelines and best practices. One standard – and regulations publicly accepted by all stakeholders globally - will eliminate confusion brought on from peripheral criteria.

In 2024 we are also aligning to bring back our IPA regulatory workshops. Provisional dates include US, Australia, and Brazil. We are also participating at upcoming stakeholder meetings in Canada and Europe.

Helping HCPs understand -biotics

Lastly one area where IPA always saw as a significant part of the puzzle. The health care professional community. We have finalized content with key opinion leaders addressing what this community needs in tools to help in bringing up to speed the latest developments from a scientific aspect that is translational. Web site also to be launched in 2024.

For those of you who have not seen our new look yet – please take a look at​ and drop us a line with any questions you may have in regard to our new direction. 

My parting words come from quotes from two distinctively different sources, a) Marcus Aurelius Roman emperor from AD 161, made famous in the movie The Gladiator “Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted by nature to bear” and finally from a decisive scene in the movie Black Hack down b) "It's what you do now that makes a difference.” Both these passages reflect the idea of why IPA is where it is today and why we are the association to take all this new work on, and to the next level.

Wishing you and your family’s Happy holidays to all our members and friends and looking forward to a fruitful 2024!

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