Sunday, March 12, 2006

Tempest in a Yogurt Pot

Last time I questioned the origins of Bifidus Regularis (TM!) found in Dannon Activa yogurt. That bothersome TM symbol suggested something sinister, but a link from an anonymous comment put me onto a page that gave me the necessary information.

Genetically engineered bacteria? That's still unclear.

A very special strain? Well... perhaps... a strain. Maybe. Still not clear.

A trademarked name to make a dull little intestinal bacteria sound even friendlier and more helpful?


That would indeed explain why both words in the scientific-sounding name are capitalized. It's a proper name, not a scientific name (for if it were a scientific name, the second word -- the specific epithet -- would be small-case, and both words would be in italics). In truth, the lowly bacteria bears the name Bifidobacterium animalis DN 173 010, a rather long and slightly scary name to print on an ingredients label. Sooo much friendlier to call it "Bifidus Regularis" for the American market, suggesting that it helps promote regularity (the "reduced transit time" as the advertising so tactfully puts it). In other countries where Activa is marketed, Dannon uses other names derived from comforting terms in the appropriate language.

Ah, Dannon, Dannon, do you not understand the importance of written communication? Of full disclosure? Of educating the consumer? Do you not comprehend the anxiety produced when important details are left out of your communication, such as, "Now, what exactly is it that you want me to eat?" Do you fear "confusing" the consumer, so that you only disclose what you want them to know? I hope not, for that approach does not inspire confidence.

Thank you, Anonymous, for the tip. You were ever so much more helpful than the Dannon company, which hasn't bothered to answer any of my emails. So helpful, they are. So friendly. So communicative.

Too busy dancing the hoochy-coochy around their offices, perhaps, filled with Activa joy, to get around to their emails.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How do we know it's not genetically engineered?
where is the link to that information?