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Fermented Foods Surge Meets Patchwork of Regulation, Standards

The surging popularity of beneficial fermented foods like kombucha and yogurt is being met with a patchwork of regulations worldwide, according to a recent review.

The reviewers find a renewed focus on research, production and traditional fermented foods at the same time that countries have often adopted unique standards and specifications for fermented foods (FFs). The new paper, “Global Regulatory Frameworks for Fermented Foods: A Review” appears in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Nutrition and was led by scientists based in Teagasc, Ireland.

The IAFNS-supported study summarizes the rapidly evolving legislative and regulatory frameworks for fermented foods (FFs) across a number of countries and regions including South Korea, India, South Africa, Japan, the Russian Federation, the European Union, Canada and the U.S.

The authors recommend that “consolidation of various standards and specifications into legislations and Standard Codes to a certain degree, as done recently by South Korea and India, can provide better harmonization.”

They argue that fermented food products produced through different fermentative processes merit separate regulation with specifications for composition, safety, communication and distribution.

The need for consideration of the available science in crafting legislative and regulatory frameworks for FFs is evidenced by “…a visible lack of consideration of insights gained from the large corpus of microbiome studies on FFs and their microbial composition in corresponding global Food Standards or Codes…To this end, governments and organizations should consider the establishment of Expert Committees on FF microbiomes to facilitate the smooth translation of such knowledge” into recommendations.

To preserve consumer confidence in FFs, “urgent regulatory advances, including improved regulatory clarity, consistency and harmonization, need to be made to guide consumers on recommended compositions, intakes and to ensure safe production, storage, transport and distribution, among others,” the authors conclude.

The full-published paper can be viewed at: Global Regulatory Frameworks for Fermented Foods: A Review

Find out more about Teagasc Food Research Areas