experts cornerhealth updateKids NutritionLive Culturerecipespress roomIndustry resources

Return to Live & Active Culture Yogurt

Live and Active Culture (LAC) Yogurt FAQ's

The National Yogurt Association (NYA) gives you the facts on live and active culture yogurt below:

Q

Does frozen yogurt contain live and active cultures?

 

Frozen yogurt is a non-standardized food and, therefore, is not subject to Federal composition standards, as is the case for “yogurt.” In order to qualify for NYA’s Live & Active Cultures seal, frozen yogurt must be a product made by fermenting pasteurized milk (can include skim milk and powdered skim milk, plus other ingredients), using traditional yogurt cultures, until the proper acidity is reached. Many manufacturers, according to their unique recipes, will then mix this (the "yogurt" component) with a pasteurized ice cream mix of milk, cream, and sugar, plus stabilizers or other ingredients needed for desired consistency. This frozen yogurt base mix can then be blended with fruit or other ingredients and then frozen. The freezing process does not kill any significant amount of the cultures—in fact, during the freezing process the cultures go into a dormant state, but when eaten and returned to a warm temperature within the body, they again become active and are capable of providing all the benefits of cultures in a refrigerated yogurt product.

Not all products termed "frozen yogurt" actually contain live and active cultures. Some so-called "frozen yogurts" use heat-treated yogurt, which kills the live and active cultures, or they may simply add in cultures to the mix along with acidifiers, and skip the fermentation step all together. To make sure that a frozen yogurt contains yogurt produced by traditional fermentation and has a significant amount of live and active cultures, look for the NYA Live & Active Cultures seal. Return to Top

 

Q

What is the "official" definition of the term "yogurt"?

 

Under the standard of identity established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in order for a refrigerated product to be called "yogurt," it must be produced by culturing permitted dairy ingredients with a bacterial culture, which contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In addition to the use of bacterial cultures required by the FDA standard of identity, live and active culture yogurt may contain other safe and suitable food grade bacterial cultures. No standard of identity exists for frozen yogurt products, but they too may contain live and active cultures.

The National Yogurt Association (NYA) established its own criteria for live and active culture yogurt in conjunction with its Live & Active Culture seal program. In order for manufacturers to carry the seal, refrigerated yogurt products must contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and frozen yogurt products must contain 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This level was based on a survey of leading research scientists involved in clinical studies of the health attributes associated with live and active culture yogurt. The Live & Active Culture seal to all yogurt manufacturers whose products, both refrigerated or frozen, contain a significant level of live and active cultures.
Return to Top

 

Q

What are live and active cultures?

 

Live and active cultures refer to the living organisms Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which convert pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation. All yogurts are required to be made with these two cultures. In addition, some yogurts contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and other cultures. In heat-treated yogurt, these cultures are killed during post-fermentation heating.
Return to Top

 

Q

Why should consumers choose yogurt with live and active cultures?

 

Researchers around the world are studying the potential attributes of live and active culture yogurt in preventing gastrointestinal infections, boosting the body's immune system, fighting certain types of cancer and preventing osteoporosis. More research must be done to establish a definitive link between live and active culture yogurt and these health effects, but the results to date are encouraging.

Additionally, the live and active cultures found in yogurt break down lactose in milk. This allows lactose intolerant individuals who commonly experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they consume milk products to eat yogurt and receive the nutrients contained in the milk product without the side effects of abdominal cramping, bloating and diarrhea.

For more information on studies pertaining to the health attributes of yogurt, click here to view the Health Update.
Return to Top

 

Q

How can consumers be certain they are getting the benefits of yogurt with live and active cultures?

 

The National Yogurt Association (NYA) has established a Live & Active Cultures seal program for all yogurt manufacturers whose refrigerated products contain at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and whose frozen products contain 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. This level was based on a survey of leading research scientists involved in clinical studies of the health attributes associated with live and active culture yogurt. The seal appears on yogurt packages and indicates this level of live and active cultures is present in the product.
Return to Top

 

Q

What does the Live & Active Cultures seal on the yogurt package signify?

 

The presence of the NYA's Live & Active Cultures seal on a yogurt product's label provides consumers assurance that the refrigerated yogurt product contains at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture, and that the frozen yogurt product contains at least 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture. The seal enables consumers to make informed choices when they buy yogurt. The presence of the seal assures consumers they are getting at least a certain level of a product attribute - live and active cultures - that they seek from the yogurt.
Return to Top

 

Q

What's the difference between yogurt with live and active cultures and heat-treated yogurt?

 

A very important difference among yogurts is whether they contain live and active cultures. Although all yogurts initially contain live and active cultures, some are heated after they are made, thereby destroying the cultures. Also, some yogurts are initially formulated with a low level of cultures. Consumers can be certain they are getting yogurt with significant levels of live and active cultures by looking for the National Yogurt Association (NYA) Live & Active Cultures Yogurt seal on the package.
Return to Top

 

Q

Does heat-treated yogurt contain any beneficial bacteria/cultures?

 

There is no way to tell for sure. However, consumers can be certain they are getting the full health attributes of eating yogurt by looking for the Live & Active Cultures seal on the package, which is assurance that the refrigerated yogurt product contains at least 100 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.
Return to Top

 

Q

Why would a manufacturer heat-treat yogurt?

 

Companies may market "heat-treated yogurt" to prolong shelf life or decrease yogurt's natural tartness. Other products that do not contain live and active cultures include yogurt-covered pretzels, yogurt-covered candy and yogurt-containing salad dressings, among others.
Return to Top

 

Q

What products use the term "yogurt" but do not contain live and active cultures?

 

Yogurt products that do not contain live and active cultures include heat-treated yogurt, yogurt-covered pretzels, yogurt-covered candy, and some yogurt-containing spreads and salad dressings. To be sure one is getting all the attributes of live and active cultures, consumers should look for the National Yogurt Association's Live & Active Cultures seal.
Return to Top

 

Q

Does the National Yogurt Association monitor yogurts with live and active cultures?

 

The National Yogurt Association does not monitor yogurts with live and active cultures. In order to help consumers be certain they are getting the full health attributes of yogurt, the NYA established the voluntary Live & Active Cultures Yogurt seal program for manufacturers of live and active culture yogurt products. These manufacturers must provide lab analysis certifying the levels of cultures in their products. Always look for the Live & Active Cultures seal on the yogurt cup to be sure you are getting the healthful attributes of live and active culture yogurt.
Return to Top

 

 





 
Login
space