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Dannon Fined $21M for False Marketing

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We’ve all fallen victim to supermarket and food marketing tactics.

We prefer Oscar Meyer bologna because we grew up singing “My bologna has a first name, it’s O-S-C-A-R…” We buy Trix cereal for our children because we know “Trix are for kids.” And, for us women, we’ve purchased Activia yogurt in recent years because Jamie Lee Curtis claims it helps with her irregularity.

Well, turns out, the trick is on us.

Dannon — the world’s biggest yogurt maker and manufacturer of Activia — “agreed to pay a $21 million fine and stop making exaggerated health claims for two popular Dannon products under a settlement with the federal government and attorneys general from 39 states Wednesday.”

The Federal Trade Commission cried foul over Dannon’s unsubstantiated advertising campaigns that claim that DanActive helps prevent colds and flu, and that one daily serving of Activia relieves temporary irregularity and helps with “slow intestinal transit time.”

Apparently, the FTC found no scientific proof of such claims and charged Dannon with false advertising.

The FTC is engaged in ongoing efforts to make sure that marketers do not overstate the health benefits of their products.

Under the proposed settlement between the FTC and Dannon:

“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. Although companies usually do not need FDA approval of their health claims to comply with the FTC Act, the FTC determined in this case that requiring FDA approval will give Dannon clearer guidance going forward, and help ensure that it complies with the settlement order.

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.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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