Stevia leaf extract and sucralose are both safe as far as the federal government is concerned, but two yogurt giants are at odds about the zero-calorie sweeteners and the dispute has oozed into the federal court system. Chobani-Simply-100-yogurtjpgIt only took two days for Chobani LLC and the Dannon Co. to reach the litigation level in a corporate-to-corporate conversation after Chobani’s new “Simply 100 Campaign” launched Jan. 6. The multi-media advertising blitz for Chobani’s Simply 100 Greek Yogurt line emphasizes that the products do not contain artificial sweeteners or artificial preservatives. Chobani’s advertising “notes that sucralose, an artificial sweetener found in Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, is processed with added chlorine, which prevents sucralose from being broken down into the body for energy, according to the FDA,” according to a Jan. 11 news release from Chobani. Dannon was quick to respond to the ads. “On or about 6 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2016, counsel for Dannon sent a letter to Chobani via e-mail accusing Chobani of making false, misleading, disparaging, or deceptive statements or claims in connection with the Simply 100 Campaign pursuant to the Lanham Act and/or New York New York state law, and demanded that Chobani immediately discontinue the Simply 100 Campaign,” according to a copy of Chobani’s federal court complaint that the company distributed with a news release. Chobani’s Jan. 8 complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, seeks a jury trial to gain declarations that its ad campaign is not violating federal and state laws. Chobani also wants Dannon to pay attorney fees for the action. “Consumers have the right to know what’s in their cup. This campaign is fundamentally about choice — the choice between natural ingredients versus artificial ingredients,” Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing and Brand Officer for Chobani said in a news release. “We’re empowering consumers with facts and information to help them make more informed decisions when they’re buying food for themselves and their family. We know people are concerned about artificial sweeteners in their food, and this campaign is about giving them truthful and accurate information.” Online representations of Chobani’s Simply 100 product line labels show all of them include stevia leaf extract. Dannon’s website shows its line of Light & Fit products include sucralose. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)