Following an assessment by an independent panel of U.S. experts in toxicology, nutrition and molecular biology, the strain was deemed to be safe for use as a food ingredient. The company said it will subsequently notify FDA of this GRAS status.
"Yakult will accelerate our activities to penetrate our brand not only in the U.S., but also all over the world, by increasing the recognition of the safety of Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota," said Michio Shimizu, President and CEO of Yakult U.S.A. Inc.
Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota, which is exclusive to Yakult, was cultured in 1930 by Japanese microbiologist Dr Minoru Shirota. In 1935, Dr Shirota incorporated the strain - which was at the time touted as being "stronger than most" - into a yogurt beverage: Yakult.
The company says its product contains "one of the most studied probiotic strains" which help stimulate the immune system.