Frozen Yogurt and Other Yogurt Products

Frozen yogurt is a product for which no federal standard of identity exists.This has led to confusion and even mis-representations about what this product actually is. Several states now have their own definitions of frozen yogurt (mainly dealing with fat levels), and the FDA has been petitioned to implement standards of identity. The main reason why such measures are thought necessary is to protect the image of yogurt as a healthy, nutritious food—one low in fat and calories and containing health-promoting bacteria. Obviously, there are marketing reasons for including "yogurt" on the label of a product, whether or not that product actually contains yogurt, or what consumers think is yogurt. For example, yogurt-covered pretzels, yogurt-covered raisins, and yogurt-containing salad dressings are made using material that may have once been yogurt, but after processing and dilution with other ingredients, little of the original yogurt character may actually be present. Similarly, ice cream mix containing only a trace of yogurt could, in theory, be called frozen yogurt and gain the market advantages associated with yogurt. Certainly, and perhaps most importantly, the presence of live yogurt organisms should not be assumed for these products.

As noted, some states have written definitions for frozen yogurt. However, while there may be requirements for the presence of particular organisms, there are generally no such requirements for minimum numbers. In Minnesota, for example, frozen yogurts refer to a "Frozen dairy food made from a mix containing safe and suitable ingredients including, but not limited to, milk products. All or a part of the milk products must be cultured with a characterizing live bacterial culture that contains the lactic acid producing bacteria Lacto-bacillus bulgaricus and Streptococus ther-mophilus and may contain other lactic acid producing bacteria." Some states require that the frozen yogurt products have a minimum acidity, ranging from 0.3% to 0.5%.

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