Wednesday, June 29, 2005

I want my Lactobacillus Casei strain Shirota

During my time in Australia I became accustomed to having a Yakult with breakfast and a Yakult with dinner. (A what? - Ed. A Yakult.) My digestion had never been better. Granted, I've never had digestion problems, per se, but there was certainly a difference - they call it "probiotics". I was hooked when I first saw that 'cause I'm quite anti-anitbiotic (It must be one of those white Christian red-state things. - Ed.)

Upon my return to the motherland I did my best find Yakult in America. In 2001, I was able to hunt down Yakult's tiny U.S. office in Torrence, California. This was their response:
What we do here is import our products freshly from Mexico (YakultMexico has been doing business for almost 20 years.) and distribute here in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego) mainly targeting the oriental markets (As you may know the distribution is limited in Southern California). We sell the product here just as regular Dairy Beverage without doing any health claims compling with the Federal and California State food regulation. We have just started this project few years ago and as we are still in progress, we do not yet have plans to expand to other states. We are not prepared to do business like in Australia yet.

Regarding your request of purchasing on a regular basis from us, we can not do it in any business basis. We are not prepared to do business in other states by our organization itself (you might be suprized but there are only two staff here including me) and by the regulation. It is really difficult for us to do retail in any commercial
basis. I hope you understand.
Disappointing, but understandable.

Just a few months ago, I read a press release that stated Yakult headquarters in Nippon had come to some sort of marketing and product agreement with Danone, or Dannon here in the states. I was totally bummed, because to me that meant to get the "probiotic" goods I craved I'd have to purchse some pansy French company's products (DanActive - gross!). I tried them - they sucked monkey balls.

Then today, out of the blue, I received this from Marilu Perez with Yakult USA:

Dear Mr. [Editor]:

We hope you remember us and hope you are doing fine.

Back in November 2001 you contacted our office in California requesting information of stores that sell Yakult in Seattle, unfortunately at that time we did not have any distribution to Seattle. We are happy to inform you that with great effort we expand our distribution to Seattle, it has been a bit difficult to distribute Yakult to other States since we import our product from Mexico. Thank you for your patience, the following are 2 stores in Seattle that sell Yakult. *ENJOY*

600 5th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 624-6248

15555 NE. 24th St.
Bellevue, WA 98007
(425) 747-9012

Needless to say, I now have two 5-packs sitting in the fridge right now (Uh, come on, you've already had two. - Ed. Fine, a 3-pack and a 5-pack).

One man can make a difference! (*cough**cough*-Ed.)

Thank you YAKULT!!!!!!