Ingredients for Dairy Processors / Dairy Foods Columnists / Probiotics

Protecting probiotics’ positive image

Do all probiotics in dairy products deliver on their promises? Find out more.

Probiotic-containing dairy products are gaining in popularity and consumers put their trust in these products, assuming they will receive the probiotic effect the package promises.

Not all products deliver on their promises, however, according to Mary Ellen Sanders, MS, PhD, consultant, Dairy & Food Culture Technologies, and executive director, International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. Independent testing discovered that some probiotic products don’t contain what is claimed, said Sanders. In addition, some claims aren’t backed by enough evidence to support the benefit of that particular probiotic strain.

Working with probiotics is no easy task for probiotic suppliers and dairy processors. In terms of technology, the biggest challenge is keeping probiotics alive so they’re viable when they reach the target site in the human body. “Some microorganisms are a bit labile in terms of exposure to environmental stresses,” said Sanders. “Manufacturers and processors need to be careful and clever as to how they [handle probiotics].” Another challenge is accruing convincing evidence through human studies to support a claim. “It’s expensive and difficult to do,” said Sanders. “In the U.S., studies have to be done in healthy people, but how do you show that a probiotic makes healthy people healthier?” Yet another challenge: Although many studies demonstrate probiotics’ positive effects, it’s hard to translate to food and human health.

Despite these challenges, it’s imperative — both for business success and consumer protection — that probiotic products deliver what they say they do. “There is no third party validation or verification on the type of probiotic, the levels of live microorganism delivered, or the health benefit statement on the label,” said Sanders. “There is a need for that.”

That’s where the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) comes in, according to Markus Lipp, PhD, director of food standards for USP, an independent, not-for-profit organization. To help probiotic suppliers and food manufacturers maintain product quality and authenticity, thereby generating trust in the food supply chain and keeping food safe, USP is developing standards — both written specifications and reference materials — for probiotic testing, including probiotic identity, quantity and activity, which will be included in the Food Chemical Codex (FCC).

“The industry comes to USP to develop probiotic testing protocols,” said Lipp. “And we are here to help the industry devise public standards so probiotic testing, by independent laboratories and food manufacturers themselves, will obtain the most accurate and meaningful results. The standards are easy to defend because they are non-biased, third-party and independent.”

Collaborating with USP to develop standards for probiotic testing is free of charge to businesses. And although probiotic testing is not mandatory, said Lipp, many of USP’s food standards are quoted in the code of federal regulations to define food grade.
Although USP issues a “USP verified” seal for dietary supplements, Lipp said USP currently does not award a similar seal for food ingredients. Some food products include statements on packaging that indicate adherence to FCC standards — such claims are not policed by USP, but Lipp said inaccurate statements may incur penalties from the marketplace.

In December 2012, USP plans to publish its first testing standards for an individual probiotic strain for a three-month public review. This follows a general information appendix that USP recently developed addressing critical quality issues to consider when utilizing probiotics and other microbial food cultures.
“The finalized standards will be revised on an ongoing basis to keep it relevant for everyone in the food supply chain,” said Lipp. “Standards ensure there is a way to verify that a claim is correct and that the probiotic quality is the same throughout the food supply chain. Quality, authenticity and safety is important for the integrity of brand name and brand image.”
 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Dairy Foods Magazine. 

Recent Articles by Karen Giles-Smith

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Velvet Ice Cream Co., Utica, Ohio

Velvet Ice Cream built its reputation on making premium products that adhere to the standard of identity for ice cream. Its lines consist of premium, all natural, churned (low-fat), no sugar added, novelties, sherbet (in cups and in push-up tubes) and a controlled ice cream brand for grocery store customers.

BehindtheScenes

This photo gallery contains additional, unpublished photos of dairy processing facilities featured in Dairy Foods magazine. To view more Behind the Scenes galleries go to our archives page!

11/18/14 2:00 pm EST

Harness Your Product Inspection Program to Save Money, Ensure Quality and Drive Efficiencies

Consolidation in the dairy industry is raising the bar on innovation and driving efficiencies to ensure competitiveness. One area often overlooked is the role that the right product inspection program can play in supporting the organization’s overall business goals and protecting brand reputation. Drawing on best practices in metal detection, X-ray inspection and checkweighing, this session will cover criteria to help determine the right technologies to employ for a given product and packaging type for high-value, perishable dairy products.

Dairy Foods Magazine

dairy foods october

2014 October

A look inside 100-year-old Velvet Ice Cream; Plus we look at four cheese processors with award-winning artisan and farmstead cheeses.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Cheese Flavors

What’s your favorite flavor to eat in cheese?
View Results Poll Archive

THE DAIRY FOODS STORE

tharp-and-young-on-icecream.gif
Tharp & Young on Ice Cream: An Encyclopedic Guide to Ice Cream Science and Technology

An at once an all-inclusive guide to the meaning of hundreds of technical terms and ideas needed for ice cream manufacturing, as well as a practical introduction to the ingredients, freezing methods, flavoring, and packaging of ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, gelato, frozen yogurts, novelties and many other kinds of frozen desserts.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo 40px 2-12-13 Twitter logo 40px 2-12-13  YouTube logo 40px 2-12-13  LinkedIn logo 40px 2-12-13google plus

Dairy Foods Buyers Guide

cover df july 2013Resource for buyers in the dairy processing industry to find information on the leading suppliers and manufacturers.

Find Ingredients, Equipment, Distribution, R&D and More.

Start Your Search Today.