Rival ad claiming General Mills' yogurt has 'bug spray' ingredient is banned

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Adverts that likened yogurts from General Mills' Yoplait brand to bug spray have been banned following a lawsuit.

Golden Valley-based General Mills sued after competitor Chobani ran ads for its Simply 100 Greek yogurt highlighting some of the artificial flavors Yoplait Greek 100 contains, the Times Union reports.

The advert – which you can watch below – says the Yoplait yogurt contains potassium sorbate that it says is "used to kill bugs," with a woman in the advert throwing the Yoplait out of her car window, before opening up a Simply 100 cup.

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General Mills conducted a survey of 650 people, which found that 60 percent of people felt Yoplait Greek 100 was unsafe to consume after watching the ad.

AdAge reports a U.S. District Judge on Friday granted motions from General Mills and Dannon – another firm targeted by Chobani's ads – for preliminary injunction stopping Chobani making certain claims about its rivals in marketing and advertising.

The judge said the ads made false messages that "potassium sorbate renders Yoplait Greek 100 unsafe to consume."

The Star Tribune notes that potassium sorbate can be used as a "minimum risk" ingredient in pesticides, but the preservative is generally recognized as safe for human consumption by America's food regulators.

"General Mills supports fair and vigorous competition between companies, but false advertising only misleads and harms consumers," a company spokesman told the newspaper, saying it was "pleased" with the outcome.

Chobani, meanwhile, was defiant in a statement to BringMeTheNews, saying: "This is not a marketing campaign, it’s a mindset campaign, and it outlines the difference between using only natural ingredients versus artificial ingredients.

"While we're disappointed by the preliminary ruling, we're committed to continuing the conversation and it’s good to see big food companies like General Mills starting to remove artificial ingredients from some of their products, like their cereals. In the end, if we can give more people more information while helping other food companies make better food, everyone wins."

It also had a response on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/Chobani/status/693126327789096960

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