– Myth –
The Live & Active Cultures Seal™ indicates that a yogurt product is “probiotic”
Hmmm. Let’s delve into this a bit and decide if this myth is Confirmed or Smashed?
Let’s start by taking a look at the Live & Active Cultures seal. It’s a trademark owned by the industry run not-for-profit trade association called the National Yogurt Association (NYA). They define the seal as: “A voluntary identification available to all manufacturers of refrigerated yogurt whose products contain at least 100 million cultures of Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophiles per gram at the time of manufacture, and whose frozen yogurt contains at least 10 million cultures per gram at the time of manufacture.” The seal is available to all paying members of the National Yogurt Association or for a cost of $2,500 per product for non-member yogurt company.
The seal’s claims sound pretty good; but let’s dig a bit deeper.
First let’s consider what “at the time of manufacture” means.
At time of manufacturer means that when the product is made there are 100 million cells per gram of yogurt – but what about, two, three or thirty days later? Depending upon the storage conditions, cultures used and post-fermentation heat treatment applied, there could be billions of cells when the yogurt is consumed, or, and more likely, it means that there is only a small fraction of the cells left due to their naturally short lifespan.
Second, consider that to be a probiotic, the World Health Organization says that the product must contain “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. But the organisms used to produce yogurt are simply used to produce yogurt from pasteurized milk and have not necessarily been shown to provide a benefit to the consumer.
So the Live & Active Cultures seal does not actually indicate that a yogurt product is probiotic; it simply means that it was made with a certain number of cultures that turn milk into yogurt.
The Truth Is Revealed!
But there’s still the ongoing problem of consumers understanding what they are actually ingesting. Through national marketing programs, consumers have been taught to look for the Live & Active Cultures seal on yogurt products and understand it to mean that the product is chock full of healthy bacteria while in all actuality this may not be factual!
So what is the solution?!
Rather than misleading consumers into thinking that Live & Active = probiotic, why not actually add clinically tested, highly stable probiotic strains to yogurt with an assurance to the consumer that those probiotic cultures will actually be there at the end of shelf life?
Well, selecting which probiotic to use is not as easy as picking a strain and adding it to a finished product. Many “probiotic” yogurts lose as much as 99% of their “probioticness” over the short shelf life of the products due to the frail nature of the organisms. But hearty, safe and effective GanedenBC30 has been shown to survive at rates of nearly 100% over the shelf life of the yogurt – thus allowing the consumers to receive the probiotic benefits they paid for.
Be the hero in the cold case by offering a yogurt product—dairy or alt milk, that truly is probiotic. Contact Ganeden to find out more.