Misleading Advertising Surrounding Dangers of Yogurt Earns Dannon SICK Penalty
WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee—a nutrition advocacy group of more than 10,000 doctors—is citing Dannon with the SICK (Social Irresponsibility towards Consumers and Kids) Award following its 2014 Super Bowl Oikos Greek Yogurt ad. The commercial, featuring John Stamos, Bob Saget, and Dave Coulier from the 90s sitcom Full House, distorts the benefits of yogurt and fails to disclose its adverse health consequences.
The SICK Award alerts consumers to the millions of dollars restaurant chains and food manufacturer spend on misleading advertising and other efforts that push the public and children into choosing unhealthful foods. In 2009 and 2010, Dannon paid more than $50 million in settlements related to false advertising regarding the probiotic content of its products. The SICK Award also provides consumers resources to help them make healthful food choices.
“The Oikos ad is a nutritional fumble,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D, director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee. “Dannon relies on a fictional image of yogurt as a healthful food product, when yogurt consumption can actually take you out of the game completely.”
Yogurt has gained an undeserved reputation as a healthful snack, but the high-sugar, high-calorie nutritional content actually makes yogurt comparable to ice cream or pudding. In addition, dairy consumption is linked with increases in both ovarian and prostate cancer. Men who consume the highest amounts of yogurt raise their risk of prostate cancer by 52 percent, says a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.