Washington, D.C. — The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and the International Probiotic Association (IPA) announced the development of scientifically-based best practicesguidelinesfor the labeling, storing, and stability testing of dietary supplements and functional foods containing probiotics. Considering the immense popularity probiotics have been subject to, the guidelines are designed to ensure probiotic manufacturers can consistently create high-quality products that consumers can be confident in.

“We believe these guidelines will raise the bar for the probiotic industry,” said George Paraskevakos, executive director, IPA, in a press release. “In working with CRN to develop this critical list of recommendations, we’ve demonstrated that the dietary supplement and functional food industry is proactive and responsible when it comes to meaningful self-regulation. These guidelines reflect the most up-to-date science and industry thinking, and will continue to be updated as best practices evolve.”

The labeling recommendations state that the probiotics in a product be expressed in Colony Forming Units (CFU) and that labeled quantity should be a reflection of the quantity of living organisms at the end of the stated shelf life, not just at the time of manufacture. The label should also identify the genus, species, and strain for each microorganism in the product.

The stability testing recommendations were established in order to ensure that the stated shelf life of a given probiotic product is scientifically supported and the storage recommendations were designed to facilitate the communication of storage and handling instructions to customers. CRN and IPA recommend that companies comply with these guidelines for products manufactured for sale within 12 months of the effective date.

“As more and more consumers incorporate probiotic products into their daily health regimen, we felt it was essential to develop a roadmap for companies producing and marketing these products to ensure that they meet consistent, high-quality standards,” said Andrea Wong, Ph.D., vice president, scientific & regulatory affairs, CRN in a press release.