Tuesday, March 28, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ohio Busts Dannon for Yogurt Ads

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio sued Dannon yogurt for deceptive trade: claiming that its yogurt "had antimicrobial benefits, anti-infectious benefits, and an effect on colon cancer," without "competent and reliable scientific evidence" for the claims. Ohio was one of 38 states that settled with Dannon for a total of $21 million.

Dannon makes the unsupported claims for its yogurt and dairy drinks, Activia and DanActive, Attorney General Richard Cordray says in Franklin County Court. Dannon attributes the health marvels to a strain of probiotic bacteria called Bifidus Regularis.

Cordray says: "The Defendant implicitly asserted that Activia had antimicrobial benefits, anti-infectious benefits, and an effect on colon cancer when it could not make these claims without pre-approval as a drug and did not have competent and reliable scientific evidence."

Cordray also objects to Dannon pushing its products as "daily doses" that claim to provide immunity, "rather than as [having] a modest role in helping support or maintain the immune system."

He also objects to Dannon's pushing the products for their supposed "health benefits on the immune systems of children."

And he adds: "In national advertisements, the defendant directly and implicitly claimed that DanActive provided germ-fighting, antiviral, cold prevention, flu prevention and other disease prevention benefits," again without scientific foundation.

Cordray sought an injunction and a $25,000 fine for each unfair or deceptive act.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.