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DEMONSTRATION OF NUTRITIONAL FUNCTIONALITY OF PROBIOTIC FOODS

Objective



Functional foods incorporating probiotic bacteria with scientifically supported health claims have great potential for improving the quality of life and already constitute a rapidly growing EU and export market. The European food industry, however, is facing an alarmingly growing competition on the European and International markets from large American and Japanese food producers. However, considerable confusion and scepticism exists on the side of consumers, consumer organisations, and scientific community about the claims associated with probiotic products. This greatly hampers further exploitation of functional foods from probiotic bacteria and weakens the market position of European producers in the face of competition. To eliminate these hurdles, speed up adaptation of the probiotic food technology and enhance the attractiveness of new probiotic foods, it is essential to demonstrate the up-to-date basis for marketable claims by :

- presenting the health and nutritional benefits of probiotic bacteria and foods,
with special emphasis on intestinal integrity and immune modulation;
- exploiting validated methods for the selection of novel probiotic bacteria and
foods, and
- disseminating the obtained knowledge to the extended audience consisting of
both industries, authorities and consumers.

The project will be divided into four interactive tasks :

- selection and verification of probiotic strains;
- pilot testing by clinical human trials in children and adults;
- demonstration of probiotic properties and fermentation technologies to establish
the desired effects;
- dissemination of knowledge to extend audiences.

The clinical trials and novel methods to measure health beneficial claims are essential for making approval of such claims possible by the authorities and to obtain sound information for the public consumer. The stated objectives will be realised by a consortium of leading European food industries experienced in the production of probiotic foods and multidisciplinary research groups in the Nordic, central and southern EU countries, covering expertise in the fields of medicine, microbiology, immunology and molecular biology. In addition, an industrial and consumer platform including SMEs will be formed to guarantee the interaction between science and industrial exploitation.

The project is an essential extension of previous R&D programmes of the EU and Nordic countries. The results are disseminated in demonstration workshops and are expected to convey to the consumer the credibility of health beneficial claims of functional foods from probiotic bacteria.

Coordinator

VTT - TECHNICAL RESEARCH CENTRE OF FINLAND
Address
Tietotie, 2 - P.o. Box 1501
02044 Espoo
Finland

Participants (8)

ARLA FORSKNING & UTVECKLING AB
Sweden
Address
Torsgatan, 14
105 46 Stockholm
CHRISTIAN HANSEN A/S
Denmark
Address
Boege Alle, 10 - 12 - P.o. Box 407
2970 Hoersholm
NESTEC LTD.
Switzerland
Address
Vers-chez-les-blanc - P.o. Box 44
1000 Lausanne 26
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE CORK - MERCY HOSPITAL
Ireland
Address
Western Road
Cork
UNIVERSITY OF TURKU
Finland
Address

20014 Turku
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Italy
Address
Via Emilia Parmense 84
29100 Piacenza
VALIO LTD.
Finland
Address
Meijeritie, 4 - P.o. Box 390
00370 Helsinki
WAGENINGEN AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
Netherlands
Address
Hesselink Van Suchtelenweg, 4 - P.o. Box 9101
6703 CT Wageningen