According to FoodNavigator-USA, The Dannon Company, Inc. has labeled a new class action complaint targeting its Activia yogurt as “poorly informed and frivolous.” The class action plaintiff alleges that Activia includes Milk Protein Concentrate (“MPC”), added water and filler materials that are prohibited by the Standards of Identity for yogurt products promulgated by FDA under 21 C.F.R. 131.200, 131.203. Dannon counters that food companies have been adding MPCs under the direction of the FDA since 1982 and that the the addition of MPCs is permitted in yogurts. Evidently, the FDA’s regulations in this regard are in some flux but appear to favor Dannon.
Allegations in the complaint include the following:
- Food starch, corn starch, gelatin, inulin, and xanthan gum are inexpensive filler materials. It is cheaper to add water and fillers than it is to use more milk. Instead of making an authentic yogurt product, Dannon simply added water and fillers to increase Activia’s thickness and protein content.
- Dannon’s conduct is not industry standard. The majority of yogurt brands in the U.S. do not add water, MPCs, and filler materials. Dannon intentionally added water and fillers to shortchange consumers. …. [I]t is not necessary to add MPCs and filler materials to yogurt. Most domestic manufacturers do not add MPCs, and there is no plausible reason why these ingredients are needed to make yogurt.
This case is pending as Conroy v. The Dannon Company, Inc., Case No. 12-cv-6901 in the Southern District of New York. Please see the full report by FoodNavigator-USA here and the class action complaint here.