Rockville, Md., March 27, 2012 — Regulators, manufacturers and academic researchers from around the world will convene for a two-day workshop on the scientific and regulatory challenges posed by the use of probiotic ingredients in food products. Discussions will focus on how public standards can assist in supporting transparency, consistency and competitiveness of ethical industry players as health claims surrounding probiotic products undergo increased scrutiny. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the workshop will be held May 9-10, 2012, at USP's headquarters in Rockville, Md.
"Probiotics are being utilized in a growing variety of food products as consumers incorporate foods into their diets they believe to have a positive, or 'functional,' effect on their health," said Praveen Tyle, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief science officer for USP. "These ingredients pose a host of scientific challenges, many of which can impact the validity of health claims. This could have regulatory and other implications. At this workshop, we will seek to define the needs of various stakeholders—and how public specifications for the identity, quality and purity of probiotic ingredients can address differing needs."
Central to safety and health claims of probiotic ingredients is proper identification of the particular strain that is incorporated into a food product. Given the large number of strains being researched and optimized for use in foods, manufacturers must verify that the strain they are using is the one studied in the safety/clinical trial upon which their health claims and safety determinations were based. This is difficult because of the level of specificity needed to differentiate strains, and is further complicated by factors arising from the fact that probiotics are live microorganisms—and are subject to wide variability and sensitivity to different environments.
Tests for identification as well as enumeration (microbe dose) are areas where public standards can provide benefit. Through the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC)—an international compendium of food ingredients—USP is beginning to develop these standards. The workshop will help drive future probiotics standards work.
Workshop sessions will include:
Speakers from regulatory agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada and the European Food Safety Authority; associations including the International Food Additive Council and International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics; various manufacturers and more will present at the workshop.
Early-bird registration rates are available through April 9, 2012, at $495 for industry and $395 for association/academia/government. Group discounts are also available. More information about the event, USP–IFT Workshop on Identity and Characterization of a Probiotic Microorganism used as a Food Ingredient: Importance to Safety and Efficacy, is available at http://www.usp.org/meetings-courses/workshops/usp-ift-workshop-identity-and-characterization-probiotic-microorganism-used-food-ingredient.
Media inquires may be directed to email@example.com.
USP—Advancing Public Health Since 1820
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific, nonprofit, standards-setting organization that advances public health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods. USP's standards are recognized and used worldwide. For more information about USP visit http://www.usp.org.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.
For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.