Prebiotic is defined as “a non-digestible food ingredient that beneficially affects the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacteria in the colon” which is introduced by Glenn Gibson and Marcel Roberfroid in 1995.
According to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on foods, a health claim refers to any claim that states, suggests or implies that a relationship exists between a food category, a food or one of its constituents and health. For this reason, the term ‘prebiotic’ is considered as health claim when used on a food label. Currently, no prebiotic claims are permitted in Europe, and thus also not in Germany. In 2014, the German Federal Court ruled to ban “Praebiotik + Probiotik” on packaging on the basis it is a health claim. German food business operators using prebiotic or probiotic ingredients will have to be careful with their advertising as a result of this ruling.
Health claims can only be authorized for use in the Community after a scientific assessment by the European Food Safety Authority.
Following information or documents should be submitted for health claim application:
The name and address of the applicant;
The nutrient or other substance, or the food or the category of food, in respect of which the health claim is to be made and its particular characteristics;
A copy of the studies, including, where available, independent, per-reviewed studies, which have been carried out with regard to the health claim and any other material which is available to demonstrate that the health claim complies with the criteria provided for in this Regulation;
Where appropriate an indication of the information which should be regarded as proprietary accompanied by verifiable justification;
A copy of other scientific studies which are relevant to that health claim;
A proposal for the wording of the health claim for which authorization is sought including, as the case may be, specific conditions for use;
A summary of the application
Gibson, G., & Roberfroid, M. (1995). Dietary Modulation of the Human Colonic Microbiota: Introducing the Concept of Prebiotics. The Journal Of Nutrition, 125(6), 1401-1412. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/125.6.1401
Hagenmeyer, M. (2014). Germany: Federal Court of Appeal Bans “Praebiotik Probiotik” as an Illegal Health Claim. European Food and Feed Law Review, 9(3), 193-195.
Official Journal of the European Union. (2006). Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on Nutrition and Health Claims made on foods.