This study used Lactobacillus casei 334e, an erythromycin-resistant derivative of ATCC 334, as a model to evaluate viability and acid resistance of probiotic L. casei in low-fat Cheddar cheese and yogurt. Cheese and yogurt were made by standard methods and the probiotic L. casei adjunct was added at approximately 10(7) CFU/g with the starter cultures. Low-fat cheese and yogurt samples were stored at 8 and 2 degrees C, respectively, and numbers of the L. casei adjunct were periodically determined by plating on MRS agar that contained 5 microg/mL of erythromycin. L. casei 334e counts in cheese and yogurt remained at 10(7) CFU/g over 3 mo and 3 wk, respectively, indicating good survival in both products. Acid challenge studies in 8.7 mM phosphoric acid (pH 2) at 37 degrees C showed numbers of L. casei 334e in yogurt dropped from 10(7) CFU/g to less than 10(1) CFU/g after 30 min, while counts in cheese samples dropped from 10(7) CFU/g to about 10(5) after 30 min, and remained near 10(4) CFU/g after 120 min. As a whole, these data showed that low-fat Cheddar cheese is a viable delivery food for probiotic L. casei because it allowed for good survival during storage and helped protect cells against the very low pH that will be encountered during stomach transit.