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Chobani under fire for allegedly misleading consumers

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2016 | Business Litigation

Who would have thought that the advertising landscape for yogurt producers would get so heated? Indeed, competition in this industry can be fierce, with many producers touting their brand’s attributes and how they fit into healthy diets. However, federal advertising rules put limits on what a producer may say about its products, as well as others in the same industry.

If a producer breaks these rules, they can be subject to a host of legal penalties. Such might be the case for Greek yogurt producer Chobani. According to a recent NBC report, Chobani was recently ordered by a federal court judge to cease running television, online and print advertisements suggesting that its rivals used ingredients that could be harmful to consumers. 

 The specific ad shows a woman tossing a Yoplait yogurt container into the trash after being told that one ingredient is used to kill bugs. General Mills, the company that produces Yoplait, complained that the ad falsely accuses it of using pesticides in its yogurt and that it may be harmful to consumers.

In the same vein, Dannon complained that a similar Chobani ad essentially accused it of using an ingredient, chlorine, that could be used in a swimming pool as a disinfectant. However, a harmless form of chlorine can be found naturally in sucralose, which is used to sweeten yogurt. Nevertheless, Dannon claimed that it could be harmed by such a mischaracterization.

A federal judge agreed with General Mills’ and Dannon’s positions in that Chobani took true information and used it in the wrong context.

The preceding is another example that manufacturers cannot use slogans, sayings or stories to mislead consumers into buying their products, and that legal action can be taken to protect a company’s interests.