The future of yogurt: scientific and regulatory needs1-4

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Abstract

Lactation biology, microbial selection, and human diversity are central themes that could guide investment in scientific research, industrial innovation, and regulatory policy oversight to propel yogurt into the central role for health-promoting food products. The ability of yogurt to provide the nourishing properties of milk together with the live microorganisms from fermentation provides a unique combination of food assets. Academic research must now define the various targets on which these biological assets act to improve health and develop the metrics that can quantitatively document their benefits. The food industry must reconcile that yogurt and its microorganisms cannot be expected to provide measurable benefits for all consumers, at all doses, and at all times. A supportive regulatory oversight must demand safety and yet encourage innovations that support a value proposition for yogurt in health. Health valuation in the marketplace will be driven by parallel innovations, including accurate assessment technologies, validated microbial ingredients, and health-aware consumers.

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