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Assessment of microorganisms used as other substances in food supplements
Assessment of microorganisms used as other substances in food supplements
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It is unlikely that microorganisms in supplements have negative health effects for healthy population with mature intestinal flora. That is the conclusion of the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food Safety (VKM), that has assessed the use of some specific strains of 12 microorganisms.

All assessed microorganisms are found in food supplements on the market in Norway. Risk assessments are made on the request of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA).

The assessment is a part of the risk assessment of "other substances" which are substances that have a nutritional or physiological effect, but are not vitamins and minerals.

Data about long-term effects for infants and toddlers are lacking

The risk assessment is based on previous assessments and articles retrieved from literature search. VKM concludes that it is unlikely that the microorganisms used as "other substances" cause adverse health effects for healthy population with mature intestinal flora.

However, no data on long-term adverse effects on infants and young children were identified. The evidence is accruing that the early microbial composition of the neonatal gut is important for the development of the gut flora and the immune system of the growing child.

- It is not possible to exclude that a daily supply of a single particular bacterial strain over a prolonged period of time to an immature gastro-intestinal tract may have long-term adverse effects on that development of the gut flora and the immune system of the growing child, says Danica Grahek-Ogden. She has been project manager for the risk assessments.

NFSA will use the risk assessments as a background for development of the legislation on "other substances".

The risk assessments are prepared by the Biohaz panel.

The risk assessment was published 06.12.2016.

Risk assessment closed: 06.12.2016

Contact details

VKM Secretariat
Phone: + 47 21 62 28 00
Email: vkm@vkm.no