Nestle Announces Creation of Food Sciences Institute In Wake Of Federal Trade Commission Settlement

Oct 07, 2010   

On September 27, 2010, Nestle, S.A., (“Nestle”), announced the creation of Nestle Heath Science, S.A., a new wholly owned subsidiary, and the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences in an effort to better understand the role of foods in disease prevention. Nestlés announcement comes in the wake of its subsidiary, Nestle HealthCare Nutrition, Inc. (“Nestle HealthCare”), recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, (“FTC”), regarding the substantiation of its health related claims for its product BOOST Kid Essentials (“BOOST”), a childrens drink that contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria that are found in food and known for aiding digestion and fighting harmful bacteria.

Prior to the settlement, the FTC alleged in its complaint against Nestle HealthCare that Nestle HealthCare made deceptive claims in its advertisements for BOOST. The FTC alleged that the ads falsely claimed that the product could prevent upper respiratory infections in children, protect against colds and flu by strengthening the immune system, and reduce absences from school due to illness. As part of the settlement agreement, the FTC prohibited Nestle from making health related claims in the future unless those claims are based on competent and reliable scientific evidence consisting of at least two well-controlled human clinical studies.

According to Nestlés press release, the new Nestle Institute of Health Sciences, designed by Nestle to bridge the gap between the food and pharmaceuticals industries, will conduct biomedical research in an effort to find more effective and cost efficient ways to prevent and treat diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Nestle hopes to use the information obtained though this research to design nutritional strategies and products that will improve health and longevity.

One of the major problems that the health food industry faces is the ability to scientifically prove that its products work, i.e. treat or cure what the product is designed to relieve. With the FTCs recent announcement in the Nestle settlement that health related claims must be supported by at least two well-controlled human clinical studies, food manufacturers will find it more difficult to substantiate health related claims in their products. By establishing a food sciences institute, Nestle has created a venue that will allow it to conduct the clinical studies now required to substantiate health related claims made in its products.

For more information on FTC regulations and substantiation requirements, please contact us at contact@fidjlaw.com.