There are several potential health or nutritional benefits possible from some species of lactic acid bacteria. Among these are: improved nutritional value of food, control of intestinal infections, improved digestion of lactose, control of some types of cancer, and control of serum cholesterol levels. Some potential benefits may result from growth and action of the bacteria during the manufacture of cultured foods. Some may result from growth and action of certain species of the lactic acid bacteria in the intestinal tract following ingestion of foods containing them. In selecting a culture to produce a specific benefit it is necessary to consider not only the wide variation among species of the lactic acid bacteria but also that among strains within a given species. With the possible exception of improving lactose utilization by persons who are lactose maldigestors, no specific health or nutritional claims can yet be made for the lactic acid bacteria.