Microbial Food Cultures and Probiotics
Microbial Food Cultures and Probiotics
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Microbial food cultures are used by the dairy, bakery, meat and other segments of the food industry.  They can be divided into “starter cultures” and “probiotics”.

In many cases, starter cultures determine the characteristics of the fermented food, e.g. acidity, flavor and texture, as well as health benefits that go beyond simple nutrition.  These organisms may be present naturally in food or intentionally added to food as in an industrial food fermentation process.

Probiotics are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.” Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics, Cordoba, Argentina. 1-4 October 2001.  Probiotics can be found in many foods including yogurt, cheese and juices.

The IFAC Microbial Food Cultures/Probiotics Committee works closely with other organizations around the world on issues affecting the regulation and safety of starter cultures and probiotics (see Links).  The Committee has been working with the USP and meets regularly with FDA to discuss issues of importance on microbial food cultures.

Presentations at USP Probiotics Workshop – May 9

Overview on Global Regulations
Janet Balson – Chr. Hansen

Overview of International Food Additives Council (IFAC)
Probiotic Activities

Haley C. Stevens, Ph.D. – International Food Additives Council

US New Dietary Ingredient Notification (NDIN): Strain vs. Genus/Species basis for NDI determination -
International Food Additives Council (IFAC), European Food and Feed Cultures Association (EFFCA) and International Probiotics Association (IPA)

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