Probiotics class action against Yakult USA
A motion to dismiss the action was denied as US district judge Corman J Carney stated that the plaintiff had “plausibly pled that Yakult’s packaging and advertisements are likely to deceive a reasonable consumer”. It was noted that the truth of the plaintiff’s claims were not brought into issue at this pleading stage of the trial.
A false advertising lawsuit was filed by plaintiff Nicolas Torrent who is alleging that claims of digestive health benefits of the fermented drink product could mislead consumers. Torrent argues that a lack of credible scientific evidence is provided by Yakult to support the health claims made.
The Yakult product packaging bears the following claim “drinking one or two bottles daily may balance your digestive system and maintain overall health”.
Representation for Yakult has responded in saying that is it confident going into the trial due to the amount of studies on the cultures in the Yakult products that have been undertaken, including recognition of the health benefits from probiotics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UN). It has been suggested that the body of literature offers support which goes beyond the ‘generic’ claim displayed on product packaging.