This scientific output, published on 12 January 2011, replaces the earlier version published on 19 October 2010.
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to provide a scientific opinion on a list of health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. This opinion addresses the scientific substantiation of health claims in relation to live yoghurt cultures and improved lactose digestion. The scientific substantiation is based on the information provided by the Member States in the consolidated list of Article 13 health claims and references that EFSA has received from Member States or directly from stakeholders.
The food constituent that is the subject of the health claim is “yoghurt cultures (live)”, which contain the starter micro-organisms “Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus” as specified by Codex Alimentarius Standard No. 243/2003. The Panel considers that live yoghurt cultures which are the subject of the health claim are sufficiently characterised in relation to the claimed effect.
The claimed effect is “lactose digestion”. The target population is individuals with lactose maldigestion. The Panel considers that improved lactose digestion is a beneficial physiological effect for individuals with lactose maldigestion.
In weighing the evidence, the Panel took into consideration that thirteen of fourteen human studies showed enhanced lactose digestion in lactose maldigesters, when live yoghurt starter cultures were ingested in yoghurt, that the one study which did not show such effect reported reduced symptoms and that there was strong evidence for the biological plausibility of the effect.
The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the consumption of live yoghurt cultures in yoghurt and improved lactose digestion in individuals with lactose maldigestion.
In order to bear the claim, the yoghurt should contain at least 108 CFU per serving live starter microorganisms (i.e. Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus). The target population is individuals with lactose maldigestion.