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Yogurt Manufacturers Petition FDA to Amend Product Standards.

The National Yogurt Association (NYA) petitioned FDA to amend the standard of identity for yogurt. The proposal seeks to clarify the incomplete and unclear standards currently in place, which provide consumers with little confidence about what standardization of the yogurt products they purchase and manufactures with little guidance as to how to properly meet them, says NYA.

The proposal will complete and fully implement a yogurt standard, identifying yogurt as a food that contains a minimum level of live and active cultures. NYA says a new identity standard will boost consumer confidence by creating a standardized yogurt on the market. The petition also addresses acidity, homogenization and pasteurization, standard dairy ingredients, optional ingredients, nomenclature and conforming changes to the cultured milk standard.

Currently, the official definition of the term yogurt varies by country. For example, France has very precise definitions of yogurt and only products containing live cultures (usually Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) may be called by this name. However, the United States permits the word yogurt for products which no longer contain live cultures due to heat processing. It is for this very reason NYA developed its live active cultures or "LAC" seal of quality and authenticity.

Research has shown that consumption of yogurt decreases indigestion and intolerance in individuals who are lactase-deficient. The enzymes in the cultures help digest lactose in the consumer's intestines. The thick consistency of yogurt also helps by slowing down the transit through the intestines; this allows the enzymes more time to break down before reaching the large intestine, where symptoms originate. There are several studies that point to the health benefits of yogurt. Some studies have shown that consuming live, active cultures has a positive effect on lowering cholesterol by inhibiting cholesterol reabsorption. The United States has enjoyed yogurt since the 1950s and the dairy product gained its popularity in the 1960s. In the last decade there has been an explosion of growth with manufacturers adding new varieties of yogurt, from low-fat to frozen, to their line.
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Title Annotation:Product Information; Government Activity
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 28, 2000
Previous Article:Sen. Barbara Boxer Introduces GMO Food Labeling Bill.
Next Article:Organic Foods Provide Market Opportunities for Developing Countries.

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