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Meal Pattern Minute: Shelf-Stable Yogurt

April 5, 2024

Yogurt, a tasty meat/meat alternate component that meets the sugar limits and served in the Child and Adult Food Program. But are all yogurts created the same way? You may have noticed while walking around the grocery store that there are new products labelled yogurt. Surprisingly, these yogurts are not found in the refrigerated aisle but in the shelf-stable dairy aisle or snack aisle. Are these types of yogurts creditable in the CACFP?  


In under a minute, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, provides insights about self-stable yogurt and whether it can be creditable in the CACFP. 


Helpful resources to have bookmarked or printed out about shelf-stable yogurt can be found below. 

  • What does shelf-stable mean? 
    • Foods that can be safely stored at room temperature, or "on the shelf," are called "shelf stable." These non-perishable products include jerky, country hams, canned and bottled foods, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, spices, oils, and foods processed in aseptic or retort packages and other products that do not require refrigeration until after opening. Not all canned goods are shelf stable. Some canned food, such as some canned ham and seafood, are not safe at room temperature. These will be labeled "Keep Refrigerated."
  • 21 CFR 131.200 (f) Yogurt Nomenclature 
    • The name of the food is “yogurt.” The name of the food must be accompanied by a declaration indicating the presence of any characterizing flavoring.
    • The following term(s) must accompany the name of the food wherever it appears on the principal display panel or panels of the label in letters not less than one-half of the height of the letters used in such name: The phrase “does not contain live and active cultures” if the dairy ingredients have been treated after culturing to inactivate viable microorganisms.  
  • Is Your Yogurt CACFP Creditable? 
    • In order for yogurt to be creditable in the CACFP, it must meet the sugar limits. Use this resource to help you determine if the shelf-stable yogurt or any other commercially packaged yogurt you would like to serve meets the sugar limits. 


Here are a few ideas on when shelf-stable yogurt might come in handy while operating within the CACFP. 

  • Field trips 
  • Part of an emergency meal plan 
  • Limited refrigeration space 

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