Yakult is a probiotic dairy product made by fermenting a mixture of skimmed milk with a special strain of the bacterium Lactobacillus casei Shirota. It was created by Japanese scientist Minoru Shirota, who graduated from the Medical School of Kyoto University in 1930. In 1935, he started manufacturing and selling Yakult. Official claims state that the name is derived from jahurto, an Esperanto word for "yogurt". Since then, Yakult has also introduced a line of beverages for the Japanese market that contain Bifidobacterium breve bacteria, and has also used its lactobacilli research to develop cosmetics. More recently, the Yakult Honsha played a major role in developing the chemotherapy drug irinotecan (Camptosar, CPT-11). In addition, Vitagen is also included. January 9, 2003
After its introduction in Japan and Taiwan, Yakult was first sold in Brazil in 1966, due to the large number of Japanese immigrants in the country, before it was marketed elsewhere. Today, Yakult is sold in 31 countries, although its bacteria cultures are provided from a mother strain from Japan regardless of production location.Template:Citation needed
Yakult is marketed in different sizes. Yakult comes in 100 ml bottles in different variety: Purple, Green, Red and Gold. Vitagen has Purple, Green, Orange and Gold.
The product is made by Template:Nihongo (Template:Tyo), where Groupe Danone has a 20% share. The company also owns one of Japan's major baseball franchises, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. It has been also one of the partner companies of the FINA World Aquatics Championships since 2005.
Standard Yakult (excludes variations such as in Yakult Light) contains:
- Sugar (sucrose, dextrose) to balance sourness with sweetness.
- Skimmed milk powder
- Natural flavours
- Live Lactobacillus casei Shirota strain, 6.5 billion per 65 mL bottle (concentration of 108 CFU/mL)
Standard Yakult contains 18g of sugar for every 100g, but comes in 65 mL bottles. This concentration is higher than the level defined as “HIGH” by the UK Food Standards Agency (described for concentrations of sugar above 15g per 100g). As a comparison Coca-Cola and orange juice are in the range of 10g of sugar per 100g, but with a serving size usually greater than 250 ml, while Yakult is served in much smaller doses. Based on the existence of many products like Yakult in the world market and the content of milk protein (1.4 g per 100 ml), it was classified as a fermented milk named "Fermented Milk Drinks" of the Codex Standard. Through nutrient profiling guidelines, current health claim regulation in European Union may forbid the use of health claim on food products that are nutritionally unbalanced, but dairy products and probiotic drinks are likely to be considered as favourable carrier because their health benefits outweigh the fact they might be high in one of the designated 'unhealthy' ingredients.
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