October 1, 2007/Tokyo/Business Wire -- Morinaga Milk Industry Co. Ltd., announced that it has attained self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for itsBifidobacterium longum BB536probiotic ingredient. After a comprehensive evaluation of research and toxicology data by an independent panel of scientists,Bifidobacterium longum BB536was found to be safe for use in food products and supplements.

"Bifidobacterium longum BB536 has been one of the best-selling probiotic ingredients in Japan since its introduction in 1977, and this recently obtained GRAS status allows manufacturers in the U.S. more freedom to add this beneficial ingredient to a broad range of consumer products," stated a Morinaga Milk Industry spokesperson. "Securing GRAS status in the U.S. underscores our ongoing commitment to ensuring regulatory compliance for our global customer base, as well as our dedication to developing highly functional and safe ingredients."

To date, more than 50 scientific reports confirm the effectiveness of Bifidobacterium longum BB536 in enhancing overall human health, including improving intestinal health, supporting healthy cell growth, preventing diarrhea, promoting immunopotentiation and modulation of immune balance, to name a few. The strain, which is isolated from a healthy infant, is known for its high stability, making it an ideal option for use in a variety of food and supplement applications. Morinaga isolated the strain in 1969 and has launched successful consumer products in Japan, including Morinaga Bifidus Milk and Morinaga Bifidus Yogurt. Introduced in the late 1970s, these products remain popular in Japan today, and both have been awarded FOSHU (Food for Specified Health Uses) status by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. FOSHU status is granted to food products that have been shown in human clinical studies to demonstrate specific health benefits.

From the October 8, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash