|All probiotic products meet lactobacillus and safety standards|
All probiotic products meet lactobacillus and safety standards
- Some found to contain indicated bacterial strains in a thimbleful or fail to meet labelling requirements, hence improvements needed -
Probiotics are classified as a health functional food that may help the proliferation of lactobacillus, restraining of harmful bacteria, and bowel movements. The recent spread of emerging diseases and aging population have led to keen interests in health, which in turn triggered surges in the sales of probiotic products.
※ Probiotics ranked second, following red ginseng, in health functional food product sales in Korea (2018) (Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, 2019).
With the aim to provide consumers with information to help them make informed choices, the Korea Consumer Agency (President: Lee Hee Sook) tested and evaluated 15 probiotic products preferred by consumers for their quality (bacterial quantity and strains), safety, and labelling.
The results showed that the products contained an average of 20 billion CFU* of probiotics, all being compliant with the relevant standard (viable cell count of at least 100 million CFU/g), and no safety issues were found, for example e. coli and foreign bodies. However, most of products that claimed to contain 3-19 bacterial strains were found to predominately contain only 1-2 strains, and some of them were found to need to make improvements in labelling for bacterial counts and cautionary notes. Prices per daily intake varied from KRW 217 to 1,533, a seven-fold gap between the cheapest and the most expensive.
*CFU (Colony-Forming Unit): A measurement of bacterial counts by measuring colonies formed by cultured bacteria.
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