Koster: Dannon lied about health benefits

The makers of a popular yogurt have agreed to pay Missouri $425,000 to settle allegations of deceptive marketing.

Missouri, along with 38 other states, sued Dannon Incorporated because of claims made about Activia Yogurt.

The company advertised that Activia improved intestinal transit time when an individual consumed one serving of Activia per day for two weeks. However, the majority of scientific studies demonstrated a benefit only for individuals who consumed three servings per day for two weeks.

Consumers should be able to trust that a product will do what it is advertised to do, Koster said in a news release. Companies have a legal obligation to advertise their products truthfully and accurately.

Attorneys General Chris Koster said Dannon advertised that Activia helped to regulate an individual TMs digestive system based largely on the presence of one ingredient, a bacterial strain with purported probiotic benefits.

Koster also said Dannon advertised that DanActivia Drinks gave people immunity to colds and flues. Dannon attributed the benefits to a probiotic bacterial strain. Koster said Dannon TMs claims lacked adequate research.

In all, Dannon will pay out $21 million, the largest settlement ever with a food producer.

The settlement terms state that Dannon may not represent Activia and DanActivia as products that can prevent, treat, cure or mitigate disease. Dannon will have to have reliable scientific evidence to support health benefit claims because of its probiotic food products.

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