USA – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted what it claims as the “first-ever” qualified health claim for yogurt, acknowledging a potential connection between regular yogurt consumption and a reduced risk of type-2 diabetes.

This announcement follows a nearly five-year process, initiated by a petition submitted by Danone North America, during which the FDA thoroughly reviewed existing research on the yogurt-type 2 diabetes relationship.

The qualified health claim specifically states, “Eating yogurt regularly, at least two cups (three servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes according to limited scientific evidence.”

According to the FDA, this acknowledgement is particularly significant in the context of diabetes affecting over 37 million Americans, with 1.4 million new cases diagnosed annually. The decision is anticipated to boost the popularity of yogurt within the food category.

In addition, the FDA has outlined that it will permit yogurt makers to emphasize their products’ potential in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, provided the claims are worded to avoid misleading consumers and other stipulated factors are met.

The regulatory body defines a qualified health claim as one “supported by scientific evidence but does not meet the more rigorous ‘significant scientific agreement’ standard required for an authorized health claim.”

Danone, a major player in the dairy industry, had submitted the qualified health claim petition to the FDA, seeking a review of the correlation between yogurt consumption and a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes.

The FDA’s determination, based on “credible evidence,” asserts that the relationship is valid, with the minimum amount for credibility set at three servings of yogurt per week.

This development coincides with a rising trend in the use of GLP-1 weight-loss drugs by US citizens to combat diabetes.

A survey by US investment bank Stifel in November highlighted the growing utilization of these drugs, posing a potential risk to the packaged food sector. Prominent drugs in this category include Ozempic and Wegovy, produced by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

Research from Trilliant Health indicates that approximately nine million Americans were using GLP-1 anti-obesity drugs by the end of 2022, and Stifel’s survey suggests this figure could now be even higher.

About 15% of respondents, averaged over three surveys, reported current use of a GLP-1 drug, while an additional 21% expressed interest in using such drugs if universally FDA-approved, demonstrated effective results, and became widely accessible.

The FDA’s decision regarding yogurt’s health claim adds a new dimension to the ongoing conversation about combating diabetes and its potential impact on the food industry.

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