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.