Probiotics in the Arabian Gulf Region

  • Abiola C. Senok
Keywords: probiotics, lactobacilli, bifidobacterium, health claims


Objective: Available reports on adherence to recommended guidelines for labeling of probiotic products are
based on assessment of these products in developed countries. In the Arabian Gulf region, there is a paucity
of data on the characterization of probiotic products and an absence of local guidelines for their labeling. This
study, carried out in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), represents the first evaluation of probiotic products
available in the Arabian Peninsula.
Methods: Probiotic products were purchased over the counter from a variety of sources, including pharmacies,
healthfood stores, and supermarkets across the UAE. All identified products were listed and information
regarding type of product preparation and labeling information were recorded.
Results: A total of 37 probiotic products, 15 dairy-based and 22 non-dairy-based were identified. The dairy
products comprised of 12 yogurts, two fermented milk products and one powdered baby formula. The
majority of non-dairy products were in capsule form (n=16). While all the non-dairy products gave
information about the strain of probiotic microorganism and number present at time of manufacture, this
information was provided for only one dairy-based product. Strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus were the
most common probiotic organisms identified. However, one probiotic product listed Enterococcus faecalis
(750 million viable bacteria per capsule) as a component. With the exception of one non-dairy-based product,
all health-related claims were structure/function statements, according to the US Food and Drug
Administration nomenclature.
Conclusion: These findings indicate that a wide variety of probiotic products are available in the Arabian Gulf.
Development of guidelines for labeling of these probiotic products and use of structure/function statements
and health claims should be addressed.


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How to Cite
Senok A. C. (2009). Probiotics in the Arabian Gulf Region. Food & Nutrition Research, 53.