Dannon will pay $21 million for Activia claims

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Dannon will pay 39 states a total of $21 million to settle false advertising charges.

The Dannon Company, Inc., was sued by 39 states on the basis of making false claims regarding its Activia brand yogurt. Ads by the company have repeatedly claimed that Activia yogurts would help regulate consumers’ digestive systems because of a probiotic bacterial strain, Bifidus regularis, found in the product. Additionally, Dannon claimed that the company’s DanActive drinks could help provide consumers with immunity and strengthen the anti-infection protection of the body’s defense mechanisms. But, investigations into the product did not support these claims.

"The Defendant implicitly asserted that Activia had antimicrobial benefits, anti-infectious benefits, and an effect on colon cancer when it could not make these claims without pre-approval as a drug and did not have competent and reliable scientific evidence,” Ohio State Attorney General Richard Cordray said, Courthouse News Service reported. "In national advertisements, the defendant directly and implicitly claimed that DanActive provided germ-fighting, antiviral, cold prevention, flu prevention and other disease prevention benefits, again without scientific foundation,” Cordray added.

Wisconsin State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen supported the settlement, saying, "Wisconsin law makes false and deceptive marketing unlawful. Today's settlement with Dannon protects Wisconsin consumers from aggressive marketing that deceptively uses scientific data and makes unsubstantiated health-related claims,” the Wisconsin Ag Connection reported.

States suing the company said that Dannon was promoting its product to consumers as a daily dosage that should be taken for digestive health.

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