Clorox Company Settles FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising
for "Take Heart" Salad Dressings

FTC News Release
October 15, 1992

The Clorox Company has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company deceptively advertised its Take Heart "fat-free" salad dressings as containing no fat. In fact, the FTC alleged, the dressings do contain fat. The settlement agreement would prohibit Clorox from misrepresenting the total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium content of any of its salad dressings in the future. The Clorox Company, based in Oakland, California, manufactures a wide variety of products, including cleaning products such as Clorox bleach, and foods such as Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressings. The Hidden Valley Ranch line consists of regular salad dressing and the reduced-fat-and-calorie Take Heart line.

In its complaint, the FTC cited two commercials that appeared during May 1991 on network television. Both commercials, "Delicious Taste" — a 30-second commercial — and "Delicious Way" — a 15-second commercial — showed Take Heart dressing being poured in a continuous stream over lettuce and other vegetables. The ads contained oral and visual statements referring to the dressing as "Fat Free" and "No Fat." Also, an announcer in the commercials said, "From Hidden Valley comes a delicious way to give up fat and cholesterol. Take Heart."

According to the FTC complaint, these ads falsely represented that Take Heart salad dressings were fat free in any amount that might reasonably be consumed. In fact, the complaint alleges, the dressings contained about one or two grams of fat per two tablespoons, depending on the variety.

Under the proposed consent agreement to settle the charges, announced today for public comment, Clorox would be prohibited from misrepresenting the absolute or comparative amount of total fat and saturated fat in any salad dressing. The consent agreement also would prohibit the company from misrepresenting the existence or amount of total fat and saturated fat in any salad dressing relative to the serving size depicted in its ads. To ensure compliance with the proposed consent agreement, the prohibitions also apply to claims regarding cholesterol and sodium content.

The proposed order also contains a provision stating that the order does not prohibit any claims about fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium, that are specifically permitted in labeling for the advertised serving size by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 4-0, with Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga recused.

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