Author(s): Senok AC
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: Available reports on adherence to recommended guidelines for labeling of probiotic products are based on assessment of these products in developed countries. In the Arabian Gulf region, there is a paucity of data on the characterization of probiotic products and an absence of local guidelines for their labeling. This study, carried out in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), represents the first evaluation of probiotic products available in the Arabian Peninsula. METHODS: Probiotic products were purchased over the counter from a variety of sources, including pharmacies, healthfood stores, and supermarkets across the UAE. All identified products were listed and information regarding type of product preparation and labeling information were recorded. RESULTS: A total of 37 probiotic products, 15 dairy-based and 22 non-dairy-based were identified. The dairy products comprised of 12 yogurts, two fermented milk products and one powdered baby formula. The majority of non-dairy products were in capsule form (n = 16). While all the non-dairy products gave information about the strain of probiotic microorganism and number present at time of manufacture, this information was provided for only one dairy-based product. Strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus were the most common probiotic organisms identified. However, one probiotic product listed Enterococcus faecalis (750 million viable bacteria per capsule) as a component. With the exception of one non-dairy-based product, all health-related claims were structure/function statements, according to the US Food and Drug Administration nomenclature. CONCLUSION: These findings indicate that a wide variety of probiotic products are available in the Arabian Gulf. Development of guidelines for labeling of these probiotic products and use of structure/function statements and health claims should be addressed.
This article was published in Food Nutr Res
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences