FTC Settles Charges of Deceptive Fat and Cholesterol
Claims for Klondike Lite Bars
FTC News Release
April 15, 1992
The Isaly Klondike Company has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company made false claims about the fat and calorie content of its Klondike Lite frozen dessert bars, and their effect on consumers' serum cholesterol levels. The proposed settlement agreement would prohibit the company from misrepresenting the amount of fat or any other nutrient or ingredient in any of its frozen food products in the future.
The FTC also is announcing a new fact sheet for consumers titled "Food Advertising Claims." The brochure offers helpful hints for evaluating food claims in ads that relate to fat or cholesterol content, as well as claims that foods are "light" or "lite."
In its complaint against Klondike, the FTC cited several claims the company made in advertising for the Lite bar, including the following statement from a print ad:
"If you don't believe that something lite can taste delicious, then try new Klondike Lite. It's 93% fat-free. Low in cholesterol.…"
The FTC charged that through these and other statements Klondike made four false claims:
- That the Lite bar is 93 percent fat free. In fact, according to the complaint, the bar actually contained at least 14 percent fat by weight when the entire bar, including the chocolate coating, was considered;
- That the Lite bar is low in fat. In fact, according to the complaint, the bar contained 10 grams of fat, and more than half of the calories in the bar came from fat;
- That the Lite bar has significantly less fat and/or fewer calories than the regular Klondike bar. In fact, the FTC alleged, the Lite bar was smaller than the regular bar and, on a per-weight basis, did not have significantly less fat or fewer calories; and
- That the Lite bar will cause little or no increase in serum cholesterol levels. According to the FTC, however, because the bar contained a substantial amount of saturated fat, it would in many cases cause a substantial increase in serum cholesterol.
To settle these charges, Klondike signed a proposed consent agreement prohibiting it from misrepresenting in any manner — in advertising, labeling or otherwise — the number of calories or the amount of fat or any nutrient or ingredient in any of its frozen food products. Further, the proposed consent agreement would prohibit Klondike from misrepresenting the effect of any frozen food products on serum cholesterol levels or the risk of heart disease through the use of terms such as "low in cholesterol" or in any other manner.
Another provision in the proposed settlement would allow Klondike to make claims specifically permitted by regulations promulgated by the Food and Drug Administration pursuant to the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, a 1990 food-labeling reform statute.
Klondike is based in Clearwater, Florida.
The new FTC fact sheet notes the Surgeon General's advice that consumers keep their fat intake to no more than 30 percent of their daily calories. It advises consumers to focus on the number and percentage of calories from fat per serving instead of percentage fat-free claims, because the latter are based on weight, not fat-calorie content. The fact sheet also reminds consumers that some foods low in cholesterol are high in fat. Finally, the fact sheet cautions consumers to read "light" or "lite" claims carefully to determine whether they refer to the calorie content, color, or some other feature of the food.
- FTC File No. 912-3067. FTC Docket No. C-3412.
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.