A yogurt maker that asked people with digestive issues to take the "Activia challenge" has agreed to pay 39 states, including Washington, $21 million to settle lawsuits that alleged the company's health claims were inflated.
Dannon, which touted the benefits of "Bifidus Regularis" and "L. casei Immunitas" bacteria, will pay the Washington Attorney General's Office $425,000 to settle a claim made in a suit the attorney general filed in King County Superior Court, TheNewsTribune.com reports.
Assistant Attorney General Lara Sutherlin, who handled the case, says this is the largest payment to date in a multistate settlement with a food producer. "It's significant because as the food industry sort of moves into this area of making health-related marketing claims, it's important that they understand that the states and the FTC are paying attention to those health-related marketing claims."
Dannon advertises that probiotics in its products can relieve digestive problems and help to prevent the common cold. Sutherlin says, in general, there are thousands of consumer complaints every year. "Deceptive marketing in a consumer-based economy like we have is actually really very prevalent," Wisconsin Radio Network reports.