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, 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 (Jamie Lee
Curtis is the TV spokeswoman).
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.