Thursday, April 23, 2009

Is Danone admitting Activia health claims are bogus?

Depends on your point of view I suppose.

You see the European Union has done what the United States and Canada have failed to do and that is ensure that claims made on foods purporting health benefits actually be supported by robust evidence.

So what of Danone? Well last Friday it was revealed that Danone withdrew 3 health claims for consideration from the European Food Safety Authority (I guess that poster up above isn't long for the EU).

The claims that were withdrawn?
  • Improves digestive comfort (Activia)
  • Improves slow transit (Activia)
  • Helps to strengthen the body’s natural defences (Actimel)
  • Danone now claims they withdrew the claims because,
    "It is a difficult thing to find the correct wording and that has contributed to the fact no article 13.5 claims have as yet been accepted by EFSA. But we are very confident about the strength of our science."
    Maybe. Or maybe they realize that when people actually apply a rigorous process to identify truthful claims that theirs will fall short, and maybe that's why Danone in the United States has decided to settle an American $300 million class action lawsuit about its yogurt-based health claims out of court.

    I guess the upside for Danone is that at least they're getting their money's worth out of their in house legal and spin teams.