The claim, obtained Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), was won after Danone presented a review of randomised, double-blind studies supported by the company and published in peer-review journals.
Digestive comfort and transit time
Danone convinced the FOPH that the probiotic strain used in Activia, B. animalis CNCM-I_2494, gave a recognizable health benefit in healthy adults who consumed two portions of 125g a day.
The claim reads: “Activia contributes to digestive comfort by reducing transit time and bloating.”
Danone said: “Such a claim will have to be presented on the front of the pack close to the Activia brand to ensure that the information to consumers about the purpose and properties of the product is perceptible.
The claim is only allowed in the Swiss market.
Thomas Kunz, CEO Danone Dairy, said: “The possibility to exchange with the FOPH during the review process has been essential to understand the FOPH’s expectations. We hope to develop a similar approach with other regulatory agencies in the future.”
Previous claims and lawsuits
In 2010, Danone withdrew its digestion health claim for Activia to EFSA, saying it was waiting for the Authority to clarify how the approval process works.
The company said in its release that the FOPH was using standards “very close to those used by the European Food Safety Authority” to grant its claim.
Danone last year settled a class action lawsuit in Canada relating to claims made on Activia yogurt labels, It’s US subsidiary, Dannon, settled an identical lawsuit in the US in September 2009.
In December 2010, Dannon also agreed to pay an additional $21m to 39 state attorneys in relation to their work with the US Federal Trade Commission, which filed the initial lawsuit.