Attorney General Gansler Settles Case with The Dannon Company
Company Accused of Making Unlawful Claims Concerning its Activia Yogurts
MD ( Dec. 15, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has entered into a settlement with The Dannon Company concerning its unsubstantiated claims that its products could improve digestive health and strengthen immunity. Under the settlement, which was filed earlier today in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Dannon must cease making such claims unless it possesses competent and reliable scientific evidence establishing the truthfulness of the claims.
“Companies must do their research first before they make health claims to advertise their products,” said Attorney General Gansler. “It is important that consumers be provided accurate information about the foods they purchase so that they can make informed decisions regarding their health.”
The Attorney General alleged that Dannon made unsupported claims that bacteria in its Activia yogurt products helped to regulate the digestive system. The settlement includes Dannon's Activia, Activia Fiber, Activia Light, Activia Drinks, and Activia Dessert products. Dannon claimed that if consumers ate one serving per day for two weeks, the products would improve digestive health and increase regularity. The Attorney General alleged that there was insufficient medical support showing that the products, when eaten in such quantities, improved consumers' digestive health. The Attorney General also alleged that Dannon made unsupported claims that its DanActive dairy drinks provided consumers improved “immunity” and prevented colds and flu. The settlement limits the claims that Dannon can make regarding these and other similar products unless it possesses competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the claims. The settlement also requires Dannon to pay the states that joined the settlement $21 million. Maryland's share of the settlement is $425,000.
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and the State of Hawaii, Office of Consumer Protection joined the settlement. The Federal Trade Commission also filed a settlement with Dannon today.