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Health Food Store Items

Are Health Food Store Items Safe and Effective?

More and more, people are turning to their health food stores for the prevention and treatment of illness and disease. With people turning more and more to Eastern medicine, homeopathic remedies, and herbal preparations, manufacturers of such health food store items have come under increasing scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration as reports begin to emerge suggesting that certain preparations may be ineffective and don't do what their manufacturers claim. Other reports of people being harmed from alternative medicine preparations bought in health food stores and supermarkets are beginning to emerge as well.

Some manufacturers even go so far as to claim that scientific research proves that their preparations are safe and effective, when no such scientific research has been done.

Certain substances have been found by the FDA to be contaminated. One such substance was a batch of "plaintain" leaves, which come in either cut or powdered form, and plaintain extract, used in uriseptic tea and other preparations. Certain batches were found to be contaminated with digitalis, a plant-derived medicine used on heart patients, which can damage a healthy cardio-vascular system if not taken under the strict supervision of a physician. The particular batch of plaintain leaves that came to FDA's attention were marketed by various manufacturers, including Herbarium, Inc., Nature's Cathedral, Inc., Ameriherb, Inc., Pacific Botanicals, Wise Woman Herbals, Trinity Herb, Good Herbs, Inc., Blessed Herbs, and Jean's Greens. FDA issued a warning to consumers about purchasing and consuming the contaminated plaintain leaves and extract.

Other substances, from which manufacturers reap fantastic profits, just plain do not work. Many consumers have become the unwitting victims of outright fraud and misrepresentations when they purchase certain health food store remedies based on claims that they can do everything from "cleanse the system" to regrow hair. Recently, a product called "Plex" and "Kids Plex Jr.," manufactured by Natureade, Inc. and marketed by Performance Nutrition as an over-the-counter dietary supplement, came under FDA scrutiny. The FDA charged that the product insert made unapproved claims regarding its effectiveness for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Also, a company called Nu Skin International, Inc. came under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently. FTC charged that Nu Skin, which manufactures and distributes diet pills containing chromium picolinate and L-cartinine under the brand names "Metabotrim," "Overdrive," GlycoBar," "Appeal Lite," and "Breakbar," made unsupported and unsubstantiated claims concerning the ability of these products to help with fat-loss and muscle maintenance.

Last year, the FTC charged that an over-the-counter calcium supplement called "Bone Builder," manufactured by Metagenics, Inc. (also known as Ethical Nutrients) was advertised with unsubstantiated claims concerning its effectiveness in preventing osteoporosis, its superiority to other calcium supplements, and its effectiveness in restoring lost bone and bone strength.

Also last year the FTC charged that the diet products "Super-Formula," "Slim Again," "Absorbit-ALL," and "Absorbit-ALL PLUS," manufactured by SlimAmerica, Inc., contained unsubstantiated claims of dramatic weight loss.

Consumers are entitled to safe alternative medicine products and homeopathic remedies. Consumers are also entitled to be told by manufacturers exactly what such preparations contain and do.

If you suspect that you have purchased a health food store product that is contaminated, that contains substances not listed on the ingredients, that may be harmful, or that doesn't do what it claims it can do, we would be pleased to hear from you. The Law Offices of Silverman & Fodera helps people who have purchased products that are potentially dangerous or defective. We also help people who have purchased products that have been found to have lies or misrepresentations on their labels or advertising. We also help people who have been the victims of consumer fraud and misleading claims about products and services. If you wish to initiate a legal investigation into the possibility of

  • getting a full refund
  • having your medical bills paid to make sure a product found to be medically dangerous has not injured you and others
  • getting the manufacturer to change its practices, to change its misleading advertising or labelling, or to take a product off the market
  • forcing a company to make a product or service safer
  • getting a company to give back profits it has realized due to misleading claims
  • bringing a claim for consequences caused by these products

This informational piece was prepared by Silverman & Fodera. If you would like more information on this topic, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" link on this web site.