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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jul;30(4):487-513.

Beneficial lactobacilli in food and feed: long-term use, biodiversity and proposals for specific and realistic safety assessments.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie Alimentaire, ISBIO, Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, Caen, France.


Lactobacilli have played a crucial role in the production of fermented products for millennia. Their probiotic effects have recently been studied and used in new products. Isolated cases of lactobacillemia have been reported in at-risk populations, but lactobacilli present an essentially negligible biological risk. We analyzed the current European guidelines for safety assessment in food/feed and conclude that they are not relevant for the Lactobacillus genus. We propose new specific guidelines, beginning by granting a 'long-standing presumption of safety' status to Lactobacillus genus based on its long history of safe use. Then, based on the available body of knowledge and intended use, only such tests as are useful will be necessary before attributing 'qualified presumption of safety' status.

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