FTC and States Settle Deceptive Advertising Case Against Dannon

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Attorney’s General (AG) from 39 states announced a settlement with The Dannon Company over deceptive advertising practices.

The settlement comes after a collaborative investigation into Dannon’s nationwide marketing campaigns heralding the health benefits of its Activia brand yogurts and DanActive brand dairy drinks.  The investigation focused on Dannon’s claims that beneficial bacteria in its Activia yogurt help relieve irregularity and that its DanActive drink boosts immunity and help strengthen the body’s anti-infectious defense mechanisms.

The Federal Trade Commission stated today that Dannon lacked adequate substantiation to support those claims, failing to possess competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Under the settlement agreement, Dannon has agreed to pay $21 million  to settle allegations of deceptive advertising for unsubstantiated health claims  about the benefits of Activia and DanActive yogurt and dairy products.  The settlement requires Dannon to cease making claims that Dannon products can prevent, treat, cure or mitigate disease, unless they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Dannon also settled a class-action lawsuit earlier this year over similar claims from consumers alleging that it inappropriately advertised the benefits of the two products.

To avoid regulatory issues with the FTC and FDA, food manufacturers and marketers should consult an attorney for guidance on allowable claims about their products.  Ann Marie Gaitan, Esq. counsels companies from around the world on allowable nutrient content claims and health claims for their food  products.  You can reach Mrs. Gaitan to discuss your food product marketing, via e-mail at [email protected] or by calling our office at 305.329.1467.