Yogurt maker Dannon sued over probiotic claims
A California consumer has filed a proposed class-action suit against The Dannon Company, alleging the company's claims that its probiotic yogurt offers clinically and scientifically-proven health benefits are false.
|What are probiotics?|
|The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has defined probiotics as "live microorganisms administered in adequate amounts which confer a beneficial health effect on the host."|
"Deceptive advertising has enabled Dannon to sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of ordinary yogurt at inflated prices to responsible, health conscious consumers," Timothy Blood, the lead attorney handling the case, claimed in a statement issued Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that Dannon's clinical studies didn't support marketing claims suggesting DanActive, Activia and Activia Light yogurt products had been proven to regulate one's digestive system. The suit says the company charged 30 per cent more for its probiotic yogurt and spent more than $100 million US in advertising to persuade U.S. consumers of the product's benefits.
The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, asks for compensation for U.S. consumers who purchased the products based on the marketing campaign and asks Dannon to launch a new advertising campaign that corrects the record.
Michael Neuwirth, Dannon's senior director of public relations, told the San Francisco Chronicle the company's claims were sound.
"We stand by the claims of our products and the clinical studies that support them," Neuwirth said.
Dannon is one of many companies that introduced probiotic foods ranging from breads and cereals to chocolates and cheeses.