Does Pasteurization Kill Yogurt Cultures?

I am looking for information on yogurt and live cultures. I heard that when yogurt is pasteurized, the pasteurization process actually kills the live cultures even if it says “contains live cultures” on the label. Please clarify.

You eat what you read on this one. The cultures added to yogurt ferment fluid milk into a more creamy, tangy yogurt. Some yogurts are heat-treated after fermentation, which destroys most of the cultures. Conversely, many companies heat-treat or pasteurize the milk before the cultures are added.

To ensure that the yogurt you are buying has active cultures, look for the Live and Active Cultures seal established by the National Yogurt Association. This seal means that the product contains a significant amount of active cultures, to the tune of 100 million cultures per gram of yogurt. Brands that carry this seal include Dannon and Yoplait.

But because the program with the National Yogurt Association is voluntary, a yogurt that doesn’t contain a seal doesn’t necessarily lack active cultures. For those brands without the seal, call the manufacturer for the facts.

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