Dannon Co. Inc. agreed to pay $21 million to settle claims with 39 states that the company made deceptive marketing claims for its Activia yogurt and DanActive drink products, New Jersey Attorney General Paul T. Dow announced today.

In addition to New Jersey, the states involved include Pennsylvania and Delaware. Dow called it the largest multistate settlement involving a food producer.

The states said Dannon claimed Activia improved digestion with one serving a day for two weeks. But an investigation, aided by the Federal Trade Commission, showed it takes three daily servings to achieve digestive benefits, the states said.

The company also claimed DanActive drinks provided certain immunity benefits, including prevention of colds and flu, but lacked adequate substantiation.

The settlement limits the marketing claims Dannon can make for these products.    -Paul Schweizer