The Cornucopia Institute has released a new report, http://www.cornucopia.org/Yogurt-docs/CultureWars-FullReport.pdf, specifying that yogurts from leading manufacturers (Dannon, Yoplait, Chobani) contain sugar, questionably safe artificial sweeteners, colors and emulsifiers.
The institute questions the marketing strategy highlighting yogurt as a healthy food alternative. “What is most egregious about our findings,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector of The Cornucopia Institute, “is the marketing employed by many of the largest agribusinesses selling junk food masquerading as health food, mostly aimed at moms, who are hoping to provide their children an alternative, a more nutritious snack. In some cases, they might as well be serving their children soda pop or a candy bar with a glass of milk on the side.”
The investigation results reveal that flavored yogurt varieties (strawberry, for example) of certain brands contain no actual fruit, and include total sugars that rival those in candy bars. Alternatively, rather than with sugar, some yogurt is sweetened artificially with such substances as aspartame (also marketed as NutraSweet®).
The analysis of different yogurt brands conducted by the University of Nebraska’s Food Processing Center revealed that that many of the top-rated organic brands in Cornucopia’s buyer’s guide — that are not part of the industry’s Live and Active Cultures marketing campaign — actually contain higher levels of beneficial bacteria than some of the most popular brands displaying the seal.
It was also determined that organic yogurt had more advantageous ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and higher levels of beneficial fats, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), than conventional yogurt.
The Institute has filed a formal complaint with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking the agency to investigate whether or not certain yogurt on the market, manufactured by such companies as Yoplait, Dannon, and store brands including Walmart’s Great Value, violate the legal standard of identity for products labeled as yogurt. The Cornucopia Institute requests that the legal definition of “yogurt” be enforced for product labeling, just as it is for products labeled “cheese.”