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Netherlands allows 'probiotic' labels

25th March 2021

Netherlands allows 'probiotic' labels

The Netherlands Food and Drug Administration has released guidance stating that the term 'probiotic' is allowed on food and supplement labels in the country, as mandatory information that characterises the product.

An application has been made on 19th March to the European Commission to allow the term 'Probiotics' to be used as a generic descriptor. Health claims will be allowed to be used until there is a decision from the European Commission. A 'generic descriptor' is traditionally used to describe a category of food and drink that has an effect on health.


Food Labelling Services comments:

Since the entry into force of Regulation (EC) 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods, products claiming to be probiotics or to have specific health effects cannot be sold in the EU, as use of the term ‘probiotic’ is considered to be an unauthorised health claim. In spite of many applications having been submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), there are no approved health claims for probiotics. As a result, the product should currently be labelled with the Latin term for a particular strain of bacteria.
However, in late 2020, Spain allowed the term 'Probiotics' to be used, and has the support of Denmark, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Czech Republic and Malta in using the descriptor. There are still no authorised health claims on the NHCR / NHC however, so great care should still be taken when preparing a label.

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