We now have another way of communicating yogurt’s health benefits to consumers.

On March 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the first-ever qualified health claim for yogurt that identifies a potential link between its consumption and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Danone North America submitted the claim in 2018. The farmer-funded National Dairy Council (NDC) and others provided public comments during the open docket period. This included science-based evidence on yogurt’s positive link to the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, a disease we have long examined through our research.

Diabetes affects more than 38 million Americans, raises the risk for early death and health-related complications, and can lower quality of life. Most Americans living with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and there’s a growing trend of prevalence among younger Americans.


Only foods produced with real dairy are permitted to use this health claim as determined by the FDA’s standard of identity for yogurt. The claim identifies yogurt’s benefit as a whole food rather than singling out an individual nutrient or compound. It also applies to all styles of yogurt, regardless of fat or sugar content.

Qualified health claims were initiated by the FDA in 2003 as a part of the Consumer Health Information for Better Nutrition Initiative. They are supported by scientific evidence but do not meet the more rigorous scientific evidence needed to support an “authorized” health claim.

The FDA enforces specific language to reflect the limitations of the claim’s scientific evidence. Yogurt companies are allowed to use one of these two statements:

  • “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is limited information supporting this claim.”
  • “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes according to limited scientific evidence.”

Working through this process perfectly exemplifies the importance of farmers’ commitment to investing in research, which is foundational to everything NDC does. We constantly have research in the pipeline and are examining even more science-backed benefits of yogurt and other dairy foods.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2024
April 8, 2024
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