Everyone knows the image of the snake oil salesman, pitching worthless — often dangerous — tonics, tinctures, and potions to treat any ailment under the sun. What you may not know is that “snake oil” wasn’t just a phrase, or how it and other sham cure-alls ultimately led to the creation of the FDA. [More]
American consumers have spent $65 million on Amberen, a supplement meant to ease the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. These symptoms can include hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, and weight gain. Did Amberen help with these symptoms, as promised? No, the Federal Trade Commission says: it mostly helped to lighten customers’ bank accounts, and has filed a complaint against the company that sells it. [More]
It’s funny how similar the labeling tactics used by hucksters of fake snake oil used after getting busted by new laws in 1907 are to some techniques used by food and product packagers today. [More]
The FTC wants to see some proof that the pomegranate ingredients in POM Wonderful’s products can actually treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, which is what the company says in marketing and packaging materials. [More]
Last summer, Central Coast Nutraceuticals settled a deceptive practices charge from Arizona’s Attorney General by promising to pay $1.4 million in fines. Now the company, which peddles acai berry and colon cleansing products, has been forced to temporarily stop selling or marketing its wonder products completely under an injunction obtained yesterday by the FTC. [More]
“Medical attention does not come from a Cheerios box,” Steven Nissen, head of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, told Forbes. See, one of the biggest trends in the food industry are these so-called “functional foods,” water that helps you sleep, yogurt that regulates your digestion, pomegranate juice that cures cancer, etc. But most of the claims are bogus, or at best, misleading, and the FDA is cracking down. [More]
NestlÃ© is the latest company to slap some nutrients (or in this case probiotics) in a product, call it “functional food,” and market it to shoppers as a healthy and smart product. Last week, the FTC got the company to agree to stop claiming that its chocolate Boost Kid Essentials–which comes with a straw lined with probiotic bacteria (mmm delicious!)–will do things like protect them from diarrhea and improve school attendance rates. The FTC says the claims aren’t substantiated with adequate scientific research. [More]
In a little less than 12 hours, over 300 skeptics throughout the U.K. will protest the homeopathic medicine industry there by deliberately overdosing on full bottles of homeopathic pills, which technically don’t contain any molecules of the active ingredient. The group’s goal is to highlight the fact that homeopathic cures are about as scientifically valid as your horoscope. I’m all for stunts, but don’t they know that they’ll likely suffer from the memory of an OD? That’s how this stuff works, you know. [More]
Did you know your eyes have probably been viewing things in only 480 vertical lines of resolution? Thankfully someone out there isn’t as stupid as the rest of us, and realized that if our television sets can be upgraded to HD, so can our eyeballs. At least they can with the help of these special sunglasses.
Christina decided to give the famed acai berry a try. What the heck, she must have thought, it won’t cost me that much ($10) and the site’s refund policy clearly indicates when I can return the product, cancel the “subscription,” and move on. She knew the cancel-by date and was prepared to follow the rules. AcaiBerryUltimate.com had other plans, which are best summed up by this email they sent to her: “You can get your refund in hell. haahah.”
Of all the ridiculous Acai schemes we’ve seen involving overpriced miracle elixirs, Snapple wins hands down—their Acai Blackberry drink is high fructose corn syrup, pear juice, and “natural flavors,” which Consumerist reader LS points out could be “a spoonful of blackberry jam from Aunt Sally’s root cellar and a puff of acai-laced breath from the health food girl in accounting.” Or more likely, just some flavoring extracts from a company similar to this one.
I’ve been approached by a friend to join up with MonaVie acai juice—it’s a “superfood” juice that’s sold through “network marketing.” I actually do like the product, and this is a friend I trust, but my alarm bells are still going off. I don’t want to get sucked into a scam, obviously. There’s nothing about this company on your site, so I thought I’d drop you a line and see if you had any advice.
Steve Warshak, founder of the company responsible for “Enzyte,” has been sentenced to 25 years in prison and ordered to pay a fine of $93,000, says the AP. U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel also ordered the company, along with other defendants, to forfeit more than $500 million that it bilked from consumers.
A proposed class action lawsuit was filed yesterday in California against Dannon over the company’s unsubstantiated claims that its Activia, Activia Lite and DanActive “probiotic” yogurts were healthier than regular yogurt.
Chuck Norris is suing publisher Penguin and author Ian Spector over the book “The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 facts about the World’s Greatest Human”. Among other claims, the suit states that the “book’s title would mislead readers into thinking the facts were true.” This means that apparently Chuck Norris cannot cure your cancer with his tears, he did not create a giraffe by uppercutting a horse, and he cannot speak braille. If only Kevin Trudeau could be so honest.
“Brain Age” and its recently released sequel are hugely popular video games in Japan and the US. What’s unusual about this is that the games are made for and marketed to “older people” (which in video game language means “anyone over 25”) as a way to improve your mental acuity by keeping your cognitive skills at peak levels. Does any of it work, or is it just a self-help fad for the 21st century? Sharpbrains.com interviews Go Hirano, a Japanese entrepreneur (their description, not ours) who provides a general overview of the current state of “brain training” and its borderline-scientific underpinnings.
t, right? Read on for details…”