Remember when yogurt ads didn’t feature references to bowel movements, fighting flu symptoms or Jamie Lee Curtis?
We don’t either – that’s how long it’s been.
Well, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission wants to go back to the good ol’ days before yogurt became a superfood. Today, the FTC announced a settlement with Dannon (known in Canada as Danone Canada), makers of Activia and DanActive products, forcing the yogurt company to stop marketing the product with exaggerated health claims.
In its ads, Dannon has said that Activia yogurt contains probiotics (living bacterial culture) that can help with digestion. U.S. regulators did not agree with ads in which Dannon claimed its product could “relieve temporary irregularity or help with slow intestinal transit time,” with one daily serving.
As for the DanActive dairy drink ads, which suggest the product “reduces the likelihood of getting a cold or the flu” – the FTC says the company can’t make such sweeping claims without sufficient human clinical trials to back them up.
The company has agreed to shell out $21 million to 39 states that had investigated complaints about its products. This comes more than a year after Dannon agreed to pay out $35 million to customers who’d purchased Activia and DanActive after being seduced by their health claims.
While Health Canada has issued guidelines that say companies must be careful with claims about foods that maintain or support bodily functions, the government body has been criticized for not taking stricter measures against Danone Canada.
So yogurt can’t prevent flus or guarantee regularity – but can it still win me a group of boisterous, fun-loving, middle-aged pals who like to dance when they make the bed, go shopping and cook? Let’s hope.