In 2015, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the International Probiotics Association (IPA) identified a need to develop best practices guidelines for the growing probiotic sector, and together the associations established a task force of more than 60 leaders, representing nearly 40 companies that manufacture or market probiotic ingredients or products, to take on this initiative. After working diligently for more than a year to develop science-based recommendations that reflect best practices for key aspects of probiotics manufacturing and labeling, the associations released final best practices guidelines for probiotic-containing dietary supplements and functional foods, of which a key element is the recommendation to label probiotic products in colony forming units (CFUs).
CFU is the scientifically accepted unit of measure for probiotics and is commonly used on probiotic product labels globally. In fact, many studies conducted to assess the safety or benefits of probiotics report probiotic quantity in CFUs. Current regulations, however, require that dietary ingredients (other than some vitamins) be labeled by weight (e.g., milligrams).
Consistency in units of measure across scientific research and product labeling is important to help consumers and health care professionals identify products that provide probiotics in quantities shown to be beneficial. Given the overarching acceptance and usage by the scientific community, and the goal of the industry to provide consumers and health care professionals with information that is accurate and easy to understand, the task force concluded CFUs are currently the most appropriate unit of measure to use on labels.
In addition to labeling, the guidelines address stability testing and storage.
Learn more about these guidelines as well as scientific support and regulatory insights of probiotics in INSIDER’s Probiotic Ingredient Science Digital Magazine.
Get in-depth insights on probiotic science and formulation considerations, as well as issues to consider for an effective go-to-market strategy at Probiotics Marketplace, a day-and-a-half event on April 18 and 19 as part of Ingredient Marketplace in Orlando. Probiotics Marketplace is produced with the International Probiotics Association (IPA), the premier underwriter is Nutraceutix, and additional support is provided by BIO-CAT and Sabinsa Corp.
Andrea Wong, Ph.D., is the vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry.