Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More health claim woes for yogurt


I've blogged about Danone (Dannon in the States) and their yogurt claims before.

To recap briefly:

  • In 2008 Dannon USA settled a class action lawsuit regarding purportedly misleading yogurt health claims to the tune of $35 million.

  • In 2009 Danone withdrew Activia and DanActive yogurts' health claims from consideration in the EU.

  • 10 months later they resubmitted Activia and DanActive's health claims dossiers to the EU, only to re-withdraw them a short while later.

    So what's the latest?

    Last week the EU rejected Danone's Actimel diarrhea relieving health claim. Nutraingredients then reported Danone's reaction that the rejection was, "incomprehensible".

    Then two days ago the Federal Trade Commission in the States and Dannon reached a $21 million settlement to drop Dannon's yogurts' exaggerated health claims with the terms of the settlement requiring,
    "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 not claim that Activia yogurt will relieve temporary irregularity or help with slow intestinal transit time, unless the claim is not misleading and the ad conveys that three servings of Activia yogurt must be eaten each day to obtain these benefits.

    Dannon may not claim that any other yogurt, dairy drink, or probiotic food or drink will relieve temporary irregularity or help with slow intestinal transit time unless the claim is not misleading and the company has two well-designed human clinical studies that substantiate the claim.

    Dannon may not make any other claims about the health benefits, performance, 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 also is prohibited from misrepresenting the results of any tests or studies
    .
  • Interesting thing too, according to Nutraingredients Dannon USA has no intention of ceasing and desisting with the intestinal and immunity claims.

    I find that amazing in that in the US Dannon's now settled to the tune of $56,000,000 and lord knows how much in their own legal fees.

    I would think, and I'm no business maven, that corporations don't spend $56,000,000 because they don't feel like fighting injustices. I would think that corporations only spend $56,000,000 in settlements when they can't prove they're right.

    Oh, and when you can't prove you're right, that certainly often means you're not.

    Or maybe it's just the cost of doing business. After all, according to Danone, they sell 6 million cups of yogurt a day.

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