Danone yogurt fan? The company may owe you $50 from a class action lawsuit

Shine On

Yogurt lovers of Canada rejoice!

Have you spooned down any Activia yogurt in the past three years? If the answer is yes, you'll be pleased to hear that if a class-action lawsuit settlement against the brand goes through, you'll likely be eligible for a small payout from Danone Inc., the Canadian arm of the French dairy giant Groupe Danone that owns the brand.

The settlement is still subject to approval by Quebec Superior Court at a hearing on Nov. 6.

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The lawsuit against Danone Inc. was initiated by a Montreal woman, who took issue with claims made by Activia yogurt and DanActive probiotic yogurt drink that it could aid digestion and boost the body's defenses thanks to the good bacteria it contains, reports the Toronto Star. The yogurt's labeling also contained words like "clinically proven," "immunity" and "scientifically proven."

Danone maintains they've done nothing wrong, but have apparently have gotten sick of all the pesky legal fees, and have agreed to settle the case for $1.7 million. They've also agreed to remove those three phrases from their labeling.

Now here's where the free money comes in: anyone who declares that they purchased either Activia yogurt or DanActive probiotic yogurt drink after April 1, 2009 is eligible for $15 in compensation. But even better, anyone who can actually prove they purchased the yogurt with a receipt will be eligible between $15 and $50, depending on how much yogurt was purchased. Claims are to be filed through the website www.collectiva.ca, according to the Star.

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Interestingly, back in 2009 Dannon, the American arm of the French dairy giant, settled a near identical class action lawsuit for $35 million, reports CBC. At issue were the dubious health claims made on the packaging and advertising of Activa and DanActive yogurt products.

One might think that would be enough to get them to change their labeling here in Canada, but apparently this multinational dairy producer needed the extra dollar push of a lawsuit.