Probiotic count discrepancy: Australian and Canadian latest products highlighted by Korean regulator

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it would issue “inspection orders” on imported probiotics that failed conformity tests three or more times within three years. © Getty Images
South Korea's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it would issue “inspection orders” on imported probiotics that failed conformity tests three or more times within three years. © Getty Images

Related tags Probiotics South korea Inspection

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) claimed that three imported probiotics from Canada and Australia had actual probiotic counts that were lower than the indicated amount in its latest inspection exercise.

One of the products was “Premium Probiotics Lady” manufactured in Canada by Vita Naturals. It was found to contain a probiotic count of 24 million CFU when the indicated amount was 3 billion CFU.

Containing two probiotic strains, the capsule product was due to expire in October next year.

The other two products are “Premium Gold Probiotics 17” also made in Canada by Prime Health and “Dirago probiotics” made by BJP Laboratories in sachet form in Australia.

The former, said to contain 17 probiotic strains, was found to contain a probiotic count of 2.8 billion when the CFU was labelled as 10 billion.

Whereas the latter, said to contain two probiotic strains, was labelled with a CFU of 10 billion but contained only 3 billion CFU.

They are due to expire in March 2023 and September next year respectively.

Based on the information by MFDS, “Premium Probiotics Lady” was imported by Nature Life Science, “Premium Gold Probiotics 17” was imported by a company known as “I GIVE YOU”, while “Dirago probiotics” was imported by Cedrus Korea.  

The MFDS has ordered the companies to recall all the above products from the market.

The MFDS conducted the inspection​ in view of the Parents Day celebration in May, where health functional food is a common gift, it said.

Earlier in March, the ministry had ordered the withdrawal​ of four imported probiotics after they repeatedly failed inspection tests.

One of the products in question, “Probiotics 10 Billion”, was also manufactured by Prime Health. 

In fact, the authorities said​ it would issue “inspection orders” on imported probiotics that failed conformity tests three or more times in the past three years.

Aside from the probiotics, another imported product that has failed the bacteria count inspection was a coconut snack from Thailand.

The ministry inspected a total of 100 imported products, including multivitamins and minerals, and another 60 locally made products such as ginseng during April.  

Another 1,448 establishments that manufacture and sell health functional foods were inspected, with six found to have failed the inspection due to factors such as insufficient sanitation management.

The ministry said it would continue to strengthen inspections at manufacturing sites and import customs so that consumers could consume health functional foods safely.

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