Actimel and Activia have health claims withdrawn

Danone withdraws requests to approve claims about the products.

The dairy company had said that the yoghurt drink Actimel strengthens the body's natural defences, while Activia, a range of yoghurts and yoghurt-drinks, aids digestion. Danone is still waiting for the European Food Safety Authority to clarify how the approval process works, but took the step of voluntarily withdrawing the claims from products sold in France.

The Advertising Standards Agency banned an Actimel advert last October, saying that claims to help young children guard against illness were unsupported by evidence. National regulators have usually decided the approval of advertisements making health claims, but in the future will first have to pass before a European regulator.

Although Danone reported strong Q1 sales today, with sales growth of 7 per cent from the previous year for all products and 7.6 per cent for dairy products, its share price was down in morning trading.