Dannon Settles With FTC Over Exaggerated Health Claims


Dannon has agreed not to make certain health claims about its Activia and DanActive yogurt products in TV and other ads, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which announced a settlement with the company.

The FTC has been cracking down on unsupported health claims and said Dannon's claims about the probiotic properties of its products were exaggerated.

Dannon claimed in TV(Jamie Lee Curtis is the pitchwoman), Internet, print ads and on packaging that DanActive helps prevent colds and flu, and that that one daily serving of Activia can relieve temporary irregularity.

The FTC said the ads were deceptive because the company did not substantiate the claims and that assertions the claims were clinically proven was false.

"These types of misleading claims are enough to give consumers indigestion," cracked FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz in a statement announcing the action. "Consumers want, and are entitled to, accurate information when it comes to their health. Companies like Dannon shouldn't exaggerate the strength of scientific support for their products."

Dannon has agreed not to make any health claims about its products unless they are backed by scientific evidence, and specifically can make no claims about cold or flu prevention for its products unless they are approved by the FDA (health claims don't usually need an FDA seal of approval). It also cannot claim Activia or other products relieve temporary irregularity unless it also says three servings a day are required, though it can make the claim for fewer than three servings if it can prove it through at least two clinical studies.

The vote to approve the settlement was 5-0.