Recognizing the possible beneficial effect of prebiotics in food, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) convened a Technical meeting to start work on the evaluation of the functional and health properties of prebiotics. A group of international experts agreed on guidelines, recommended criteria, and methodology for conducting a systematic approach for the evaluation of prebiotics leading to its safe use in food. It was recommended that a full expert consultation be convened under the auspices of FAO. This work provides governments, industry, and consumers with scientific advice in relation to functional and health aspects of prebiotics and general guidance for the assessment of prebiotics in relation to their nutritional properties or safety. These guidelines may also be used by Member Countries and Codex Alimentarius to identify and define what data need to be available to accurately substantiate health and nutrition claims.