EU: EFSA casts doubt on probiotic health claims
EFSA said Yakult's claims of protection against common cold were wrong
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has expressed doubt about the effectiveness of probiotic drinks and yoghurts in aiding consumers' digestion.
In a series of opinions published yesterday (19 October), EFSA assessed more than 800 health claims from food companies. The claims included assertions that probiotic bacteria strains boost the immune system and reduce gut problems.
However, EFSA's independent panel of scientists found no "cause and effect relationship" had been established between the consumption of the strains Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus plantarum in maintaining immune defences.
In a separate ruling, the panel examined a dossier of 12 studies submitted by Yakult for its own strain of probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus casei shirota. The panel found that all were "inadequate" to support the company's claim that its products maintained immune defences against the common cold.
The opinions are the latest in a series of rulings by EFSA, which has already published five opinions on claims relating to probiotics.
In October last year, a number of health claims for 'probiotic' drinks and yoghurts were rejected by Europe's food safety watchdog in its first assessment.
Since then, the EU has rejected Danone's claim that immunofortis, an ingredient added to its baby formula products, strengthens babies' immune systems. Danone also withdrew two scientific health benefit claims for its Activia and Actimel products months later.
EFSA said it is organising a series of consultations on specific topics to provide additional guidance to applicants, the first of which will be held on 2 December 2010. It will focus on health claims related to gut and immune functions.
It will finalise the evaluations of all 'general function' health claims by the end of June 2011.
just-food's exclusive partnership with the Consumer Analyst Group Europe conference last week provided us with the chance to hear how the likes of Nestle, Danone and Unilever viewed the current tradin...
To compare companies like Nestle, Danone and Unilever may appear a futile exercise to some - given the different categories in which the three food giants operate. However, analysts in Europe and the ...
Flowers Foods, Supervalu Inc and Kraft Foods gave the top just-food headlines a distinctly American flavour this week. Flowers struck a deal to buy Tasty Baking, Supervalu, one of the largest grocers ...
Innovation and reformulation seemed to be a common theme this week, with PepsiCo outlining concerns that it might meet their targets, while Baxters said people are getting increasingly confused about ...
Danone recorded "very strong" first-quarter sales today (14 April) as the dairy-to-water group recorded double-digit growth in its priority markets - including Russia, the US and Brazil....
- Focus: Danone CEO Faber puts stamp on business
- Cleaning up Tesco will have mixed supplier impact
- General Mills US "priority" categories gain share
- The just-food interview: Doux CEO Arnaud Marion
- Interview part 2: BRF CFO Augusto Ribeiro
- General Mills outlines "aggressive" NPD drive
- Coles supplier payments broke competition law
- Kraft to reappraise business, says new CEO Cahill
- General Mills earnings drop one-third
- PepsiCo opens snacks plant in Saudi Arabia