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article imageDannon Faces Lawsuit Which Claims Ads Mislead Consumers

By Debra Myers     Jan 25, 2008 in Business
A lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles by Trish Wiener, who claims that the yogurt maker falsely advertised their products "Activia, Activia Light and DanActive". Wiener feels Dannon betrayed everyone's trust.
Los Angeles - In 2006, Dannon started marketing Activia with it's "bifidus regularis" bacteria. You may remember the ad where one woman recommends Activia to another woman to reduce her bloating if she ate it once a day for two weeks, adding the catch-phrase: "it works or it's free". In 2007, DanActive was launched which has "L. casai immunitas" that has been clinically proven to boost the immune system.
In the suit, Dannon is accused of inventing the words "immunitus" and "regularis" because they sounded scientific to market their products.
"I don't have time to research everything," Wiener said. "I have to go off the assumption that what I've been told or am reading is what's true."
She says that she is very health conscious and she bought the Dannon products to help her digestive system to run properly. However, her digestive system did not work smoothly after eating the Activia or DanActive. The bacteria in the products, Wiener says, isn't special at all.
It was then that Wiener asked a neighbor's mother who is a lawyer, if she would be interested in helping her file a claim against the company. The lawyer said she would.
Dannon's spokesman said that the company stands by their claims and by "the clinical studies which supports them."
Tim Blood, a lawyer with the San Diego firm Coughlin Stoia, says that companies are more aggressive with their marketing and claims. "They end up playing off people's general fears and concerns."
The suit, seeking class-action status, is demanding that the yogurt company give refunds to everyone who purchased Activa and DanActive in the U.S. The amount could be as high as $300 million.
Class-action suits should be filed when a company makes a scientific claim that is false, said Michael Mallow, a lawyer with Loeb & Loeb in L.A. who hadn't seen the Dannon lawsuit. But "with any industry where there's lots of money at stake, there is a commercial enterprise for lawyers tied to consumer class actions."
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