Caister Academic Press

Probiotics Health Claims in Japan and Europe

Yoichi Fukushima and Eva Hurt
from: Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bifidobacteria: Current Progress in Advanced Research (Edited by: Kenji Sonomoto and Atsushi Yokota). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2011)


Scientific evidence of health benefit of food is accumulating and health claims on food are highlighted. Food for Specified Health Use (FOSHU) was established in Japan in 1991 as the first systematic regulatory system for food health claims, and 799 FOSHU products are approved as of November 2008. Probiotics are food components scientifically well-documented, which may deliver health benefits including gut microbiota balancing, normalizing regularity, gut comfort, immune boosting, anti-infection, anti-diarrhea, anti-allergy, and skin benefits. In FOSHU, 73 products with 13 probiotic strains and/or combination of strains were approved under the "modify gastrointestinal (GI) conditions" claim category, whose criteria for scientific substantiation is clearly defined in Japan. In the European Union, a new Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation harmonises since 2007 the requirements on claims on food products, and the regulation will be fully applicable in 2010. Currently in 2009, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is evaluating several thousand diet-health relationships, which will lead to a Community list of permitted claims. The 27 EU member governments have submitted the claims, including, in total, 268 proposed diet-health relationships involving probiotics. This chapter will review the health claim systems in Japan and in the European Union based on the current status in April 2009 read more ...
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