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Dannon Settles Activia Lawsuit

  Court Watch    2009/09/21 18:56

Last year we wrote that Dannon Co.was being sued for claiming that some of its yogurts provide a healthbenefit that other yogurts do not. A class action suit filed inCalifornia’s Los Angeles federal court accused Dannon of falselyadvertising its Activia, Activia Lite, and DanActive products andclaimed Dannon initiated a massive false advertising campaign toconvince consumers to pay more for yogurt containing probiotic bacteria.

Now, reports the LA Times, Dannon just settled the false-advertising lawsuit.The yogurt giant also agreed to create a $35-million fund meant toreimburse those consumers who bought Dannon’s Activia and DanActiveyogurts. Dannon denied the claims and did not admit to any wrongdoing,said the LA Times, but stated that it settled because it wished “toavoid the distraction and expense of litigation,” quoting spokesmanMichael Neuwirth.

Probiotic is a term that means “for life.” The human intestinaltract is filled with a huge amount of helpful, probiotic bacteria,which is a good thing since the human body is designed to havesymbiotic relationships with probiotic bacteria that assist indigestion and destroy harmful microorganisms. Science indicates that asthe body ages, the intestinal tract becomes more rigid at onlyaccepting intestinal flora it recognizes; it is difficult for the bodyto recognize or tolerate new good bacteria. Also, good bacteriadecrease; therefore, it is important to supplement with probiotics,initiating this process early on in life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests friendly bacteria help a variety ofdigestive problems; however, in the United States, no health claims forprobiotics have been approved. The United Nation’s Food and AgricultureOrganization defines probiotics as live microorganisms … which confer abeneficial health effect on the host. In other words, for bacteria tobe considered a probiotic, it must be beneficial to humans. As aresult, if food manufacturers label a food as containing probiotics,the benefits must be proven by research.

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