FDA approves new health claim for yogurt and diabetes prevention

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the green light to yogurt makers to use a new health claim that their products may help prevent type 2 diabetes. The claim, which is based on limited scientific evidence, is the first of its kind for yogurt in the US.

FDA responds to Danone’s petition for yogurt and diabetes claim

The FDA’s decision came in response to a petition filed by Danone North America, the US subsidiary of the French dairy giant, which requested the agency to review the relationship between yogurt consumption and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Danone cited several studies that suggested that eating yogurt regularly, at least three servings per week, may lower the risk of developing the disease.

The FDA evaluated the petition and other relevant evidence, and concluded that there is some credible evidence to support the claim, but not enough to meet the higher standard of “significant scientific agreement” required for an authorized health claim. Therefore, the FDA decided to allow a qualified health claim, which is a weaker form of claim that must include a disclaimer about the level of evidence.


FDA allows two versions of the qualified health claim for yogurt and diabetes

The FDA said that it would not object to the use of the following two versions of the qualified health claim for yogurt and diabetes, as long as they are worded correctly and meet other conditions for the use of the claim:

  • “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes according to limited scientific evidence.”
  • “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is limited information supporting this claim.”

The FDA also specified that the claim can only be used for yogurts that meet the FDA’s standard of identity, which defines the minimum and maximum levels of ingredients, such as milk, cultures, and sweeteners, that a product must contain to be labeled as yogurt. The claim cannot be used for yogurts that contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners, or that are fortified with nutrients.

FDA’s decision may boost yogurt sales and innovation in the US

The FDA’s decision may have a positive impact on the yogurt industry in the US, which has been facing challenges such as declining sales, changing consumer preferences, and increased competition from other dairy and plant-based alternatives. The new health claim may help yogurt makers differentiate their products and attract health-conscious consumers, especially those who are at risk of or have type 2 diabetes.

The decision may also encourage yogurt makers to invest more in innovation and product development, such as creating new flavors, formats, and functional benefits for their yogurts. The decision may also inspire more research and collaboration between the industry and the scientific community, to further explore the potential health benefits of yogurt and other dairy products.

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