Dannon admits to erroneous health claims with Activia and DanActive products

The Dannon Company, Inc., who bought us products such as DanActive and Activia, are settling with Federal Trade Commissions for charges of deceptive advertising. According to the Federal Trade Commissions, “Dannon will stop claiming that one daily serving of Activia relieves irregularity, and that DanActive helps people avoid catching colds or the flu,” as both claims are unsubstantiated by scientific backing.

The Federal Trade Commissions cite two Dannon commercials that were run nationally, which feature erroneous health claims. The first commercial, staring Jamie Lee Curtis, claims that “with the natural culture Bifidus Regularis, Activia eaten every day is clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system in two weeks.” There was no clinical trial to prove the claim, and so the testimony via the commercial is considered false advertisement. In fact, three whole servings of Activia must be consumed daily to receive the claimed benefit, says the FTC. The second commercial was for DanActive, claiming that the product is “clinically proven to help strengthen your body’s defenses.” Again, this is a claim that is not backed by clinical trials.

Under the proposed settlement of the FTC, “Dannon is prohibited from claiming that any yogurt, dairy drink, or probiotic food or drink reduces the likelihood of getting a cold or the flu, unless the claim is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.” Dannon may also “not claim that Activia yogurt will relieve temporary irregularity or help with slow intestinal transit time.” The settlement concludes by stating that “Dannon may not make any other claims about the health benefits, performances, or efficacy of any yogurt, dairy drink, or probiotic food or drink, unless the claims are true and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Dannon is also prohibited from misrepresenting the results of any tests or studies.”

The FTC worked with thirty-nine state attorneys general, all producing individual resolutions to their own inquiries into Dannon’s advertising of DanActive and Activia. To resolve these investigations, Dannon has agreed to pay the states $21 million. While this may seem like a simple case of a company trying to make their product sound bigger and better, it becomes more personal when considering how many Americans today are fighting to maintain a healthier lifestyle. When relying on the nutritional facts, even if in advertisement, Americans should be able to be secure in their choices for a healthier life.

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