National Yogurt Association NYA Criteria for Live and Active Culture Yogurt

According to the NYA (15), live and active culture yogurt is the food produced by culturing permitted dairy ingredients with a characterizing culture in accordance with the FDA standards of identity for yogurt. In addition to the use of ST and LB, live and active culture yogurt may contain other safe and suitable food-grade bacterial cultures.

Heat-treatment of live and active yogurt with description of yogurt with the intent to kill the culture is not consistent with the maintenance of live and active cultures in the product. Producers of live and active culture yogurt should ensure proper practices of distribution, code dates, and product handling conducive to the maintenance and activity of the culture in the product.

Live and active culture yogurt must satisfy the following requirements (15):

The product must be fermented with both Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus. The cultures must be active at the end of the stated shelf life as determined by the activity test described in item 3. Compliance with this requirement shall be determined by conducting an activity test on a representative sample of yogurt that has been stored at temperatures between 32 and 45°F for refrigerated cup yogurt. The activity test is carried out by pasteurizing 12% solids nonfat dry milk (NFDM) at 92°C (198°F) for 7 min, cooling to 110°F, adding 3% inoculum of the material under test, and fermenting at 110°F for 4 hr. The total organisms are to be enumerated in the test material both before and after fermentation by IDF methodology. The activity test is met if there is an increase of 1 log or more during fermentation. In the case of refrigerated cup yogurt, the total population of organisms in live and active culture yogurt must be at least 108/g cfu/g at the time of manufacture. It is anticipated that if proper distribution practices and handling instructions are followed, the total organisms in refrigerated cup live and active culture yogurt at the time of consumption will be at least 107 cfu/g.

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