The application of living bacteria as probiotics in food or food supplements requires a careful safety assessment. This review summarizes key issues concerning the safety aspects of bacteria added to particular products marketed for improvement of general health or treatment of (post)infectious symptoms. The bacteria used in such products should be completely safe; however, it can be challenging to provide evidence for absence of all virulence properties. In some cases, virulence factors have been detected in probiotic bacterial strains, and the implications of these traits for safety assessments are discussed. Horizontal gene transfer can result in acquisition of virulence genes or antimicrobial resistance in probiotic bacteria. Antimicrobial resistance in these bacteria can possibly aid the spread of undesired resistance in intestinal bacterial populations. The relative risk of such gene transfers is considered. The generation of complete bacterial genome sequences can both resolve and create safety issues. Current practices of safety assessment procedures in the United States and the European Union are briefly reviewed and a future outlook is provided.
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Research Article| August 01 2008
Safety Aspects and Implications of Regulation of Probiotic Bacteria in Food and Food Supplements
TRUDY M. WASSENAAR;
GÜNTER KLEIN *
2Institute of Food Quality and Food Safety, School of Veterinary Medicine, D-30173 Hannover, Germany
* Author for correspondence. Tel: +49 511 856 7256; Fax: +49 511 856 827256; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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TRUDY M. WASSENAAR, GÜNTER KLEIN; Safety Aspects and Implications of Regulation of Probiotic Bacteria in Food and Food Supplements. J Food Prot 1 August 2008; 71 (8): 1734–1741. doi: https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X-71.8.1734
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