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Dannon has come to an agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), promising to “drop claims that probiotics - bacterial cultures that are ingredients in Activia and other products - will help prevent colds or alleviate digestive problems,” according to the Wall Street Journal this morning. The company, the US division of French manufacturer Danone, also agreed to pay $21 million “to settle state and federal investigations into allegations that the company's claims for the health benefits of foods containing probiotics were exaggerated, or not properly supported.”

Dannon said in a prepared statement that the settlement allows it “to continue to advertise the core benefits of its products, that Activia helps to regulate the digestive system and DanActive helps to support the immune system.”

The Journal writes that “the FTC action is the latest sign of regulatory trouble for food and beverage companies seeking to capitalize on growing demand for products containing certain strains of live bacteria. In the U.S., the total probiotics market has grown almost 9% over the past five years to about $5 billion a year. About 120 food and beverages were introduced globally over the last year that included probiotics, according to market-research firm Datamonitor PLC, bringing the total number to more than 400.”
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