Yakult is a popular fermented milk drink full of bacteria which keep the gut alive. The drink was launched in the UK in 1996, and is available in 40 countries and regions worldwide.

Each little bottle contains at least 20 billion of the unique strain of bacteria, L. casei Shirota, which is named after the scientist Dr Shirota.

Over the past year, rumours have been circulating on Facebook and Twitter claiming that Yakult contains cow sperm. We are here to debunk it for you.

What is Yakult made of?

The Yakult website lists the ingredients as: Water, skimmed milk (reconstituted), glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, maltodextrin, flavourings. Contains L. casei Shirota.

One bottle of Yakult contains a minimum of 20 billion cells of the unique strain of bacteria discovered by scientist Dr Shirota. According to Yakult: “The strain is scientifically proven to reach the gut alive.”

The strain name ‘L. casei Shirota’ means:

L. (genus): Lactobacilli are small rod-shaped bacteria, often found in dairy products.

casei (species): This is Latin for “cheese.”

Shirota (strain): Named after Dr Shirota.

Is there cow sperm in Yakult?

In April 2021, a screenshot went viral on Facebook showing a Google Search snippet claiming that Yakult is made from cow sperm.

The post with the screenshot has more than 27,000 reactions and over 67,000 shares according to fact checking site Rappler.

The Google Search snippet is from an unverified post by Facebook page DYK from July 31st 2020, which states that it is a “Just For Fun” page.

Cow sperm is not listed in the ingredients on the Yakult website, so we can safely deduce that the post is false, and you can continue to drink Yakult with confidence.

The ingredients in Yakult are: Water, skimmed milk (reconstituted), glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, maltodextrin, flavourings. Contains L. casei Shirota.

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