It sure would be nice if one serving of yogurt a day kept you regular or that a dairy drink could boost your immunity, but apparently neither claim is true.

At least that’s what the Federal Trade Commission and a multi-state coalition of 39 attorneys general, led by Oregon and Tennessee, said in a deceptive-advertising settlement announced Wednesday.  Dannon Co. agreed to pay $21 million for making those health claims.

Dannon, owned by Groupe Danone of France, has used both advertising and marketing strategies to depict its Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drinks as especially effective in keeping people regular and boosting their immunity.

In one television ad for Activia yogurt, actress Jamie Lee Curtis lounges on a couch holding a newspaper.  She tells viewers that many people suffer from irregularity, and that “our busy lives sometimes force us to eat the wrong things at the wrong time.”  She assures viewers that Activia can help.

The screen then shows a woman’s midsection, with a clump of yellow-green balls superimposed to represent the transit of food through the digestive system.  The balls merge into a downward-facing arrow, which moves off the screen while a man’s voice states, “With the natural culture Bifidus Regularis, Activia eaten every day is clinically proven to help regulate your digestive system in two weeks.”

The FTC said Dannon did not have enough evidence to back up those claims and without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the claims could not be made.

States that were part of the coalition will share in the settlement. The agreement prevents Dannon from marketing DanActive as a cold or flu remedy.  If it makes a claim about Activia keeping those who consume it regular, it must clarify that such a benefit would require eating at least three servings a day, not just one.

  • Stacey Zimmerman

    And how much of that money goes to the consumers of this product? What are the states going to do with the money. Someone needs to be asking those questions, but I am sure we will never find that part out.

  • Dave Seamans

    I had an irregular problem and went my family doctor who wrote on a perscription slip Activia purchase over the counter take 2 time a day for two weeks and your will restart your system. I did as my doctor advised and it worked. Anytime I have an irregular problem I go back to the store and purchase some more Activia and restart the process once again and presto my system is back to normal. I guess the government once again want to interfear with those who are only trying to help people avoid perscription drugs and eat healty.

  • A. Sticker

    It’s “attorneys general”. “General” in this usage is not a noun; it is an adjective modifying “attorney”, referring to the breadth of the position’s authority. Since it is not a noun it cannot be pluralized.
    See also “courts martial”.

  • Michael Bulger

    The settlement states that the first goal of the funds is to be customer restitution. They set up a fund to refund customers directly.

  • dangermaus

    Generally, whenever I see an advertised health claim, I assume it’s not true… It’s like when management says, “There aren’t going to be any layoffs.” you know it’s time to update your resume.
    Funny how this site has published recommendations of this product( ). Hey Marler – Get ready to sue yourself! 😉

  • Carri

    Question is…. where do the consumers get there money for the false advertising…. someone needs to let us know… I buy so much of that crap… ya. I call it crap now. Never thought it worked to begin with but was told by my grandmother to try it out..