Nestles to Quit Making “Boost” Claims

Last year we wrote that Nestlé made news over allegedly false claims it made about health benefits supposedly available in some of its <"">Boost products. Now, the Associated Press (AP) is reporting that a subsidiary of the food giant just agreed to cease advertising that its Boost Kid Essentials can “prevent illness, increase immunity, and reduce school absences,” citing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The FTC noted that two settlements were just reached, one with Nestle HealthCare Nutrition Inc. and one with a major dietary supplement maker, part of a larger move to stop what it described as “bogus health claims,” wrote the AP. The FTC said Nestle would stop asserting its Boost drink, with probiotics, can fulfill its claims without regulatory approval, said the AP. Probiotics, explained the AP, are naturally occurring live bacteria that appear in a range of foods and allegedly aid in digestion and fighting dangerous bacteria.

“Nestle’s claims that its probiotic product would prevent kids from getting sick or missing school just didn’t stand up to scrutiny,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, quoted the AP. “Parents want to do right by their kids, and the FTC is helping them by monitoring ads and stopping those that are deceptive,” it added.

Last year, in a letter written by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it said that Nestlé’s Boost Kid Essentials Nutritionally Complete Drink—which comes in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry—was marketed as a “medical food,” but was not in compliance for the requirements needed to make such a claim, said Reuters previously.

This is the first case by the FTC in which it challenged probiotic product advertising, said the AP, which noted that in the second settlement with Iovate Health Sciences USA and two affiliated Canadian companies over how the firms marketed dietary supplements. Iovate agreed to pay $5.5 million for refunds to consumers who bought Accelis, nanoSLIM, Cold MD, Germ MD, and Allergy MD, which were marketed as weight loss and illness prevention supplements, said the AP.

In other settlements with the FTC, Walgreen Co. settled claims its store-brand dietary supplement marketing was deceptive and agreed to pay $6 million, said the AP. Also, the FTC settled with CVS Caremark and Rite Aid over similar issues and with Kellogg Co. over claims it made about Frosted Mini-Wheats, said the AP.

Nestle has also been making news for issues regarding foodborne pathogen contaminations and had to recently shut down its production line for the second time in 2010 due to a positive Salmonella test. Workers reported and Nestlé’s confirmed that a batch of chocolate chips made at its Burlington, Wisconsin facility tested positive for the dangerous, and sometimes deadly, Salmonella pathogen. In February, a chocolate morsel sampling also tested positive for Salmonella at that plant.

Just a month earlier, E. coli was found in two samples of Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough made at the company’s Danville, Virginia factory, which also produced the Nestle Toll House cookie dough involved in an E. coli outbreak and recall last year.

Last June, Nestle recalled 3.6 million packages of the Nestle Toll House refrigerated dough. According to the FDA, at least 76 people in 31 states fell ill after consuming raw refrigerated Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough. Neither Nestle nor the FDA determined how the cookie dough might have transmitted the E. coli infection.

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