Nestle Agrees to Drop 'Deceptive' Ad Claims

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Nestle SA has agreed to drop allegedly deceptive advertising claims about the health benefits of its children's drink Boost Kid Essentials as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Dow Jones Newswires reported Wednesday.

The FTC complaint says that from fall 2008 to fall 2009, Nestle made deceptive claims in television, magazine and print ads that the product prevents upper respiratory tract infections in children and protects against cold and flu by strengthening the immune system.

"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 consumer-protection bureau.

A Nestle spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.

According to the settlement, Nestle has agreed to stop claiming that Boost Kid Essentials - which contains probiotic helpful bacteria in the straw - will reduce the risk of sickness unless the claim is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nestle also has agreed to stop claiming the drink will reduce childrens' sick-day absences and the duration of acute diarrhea in children up to age 13 unless the claims are backed by at least two "well-designed human clinical studies."

The settlement also prohibits Nestle from making claims about health benefits, performance or efficacy of any of its probiotic and nutrition drinks it sells unless the claims are true and backed by "reliable scientific evidence."