Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Diet drink TriVita fined by FDA over misleading ads

By guest columnist Cleland Thom
Has anyone every spiked your drink? It could have been worse. They could have used a cactus.

Dietary supplement company TriVita tried it.

TriVita are based in Arizona, which has a lot of cacti. And they use some of them to produce a ‘prickly pear’ fruit juice. They claimed it could improve breathing, reduce pain, and ease swollen joints.

Customers wrote rave reviews. And the company’s Chief Science Officer even claimed: “Over 200 articles published and archived at the National Institutes of Health demonstrate one thing: the Nopal cactus will reduce inflammation.”

But the Food and Drugs Agency got prickly about it. Especially when they discovered the testimonials were written by TriVita employees.

The FDA prosecuted the company, who agreed to pay customer refunds of $3.5m. They also accepted restrictions on their future advertising claims.

Which you could describe as a thorny problem.

Cleland Thom is principal of CTJT, who provide a New York tabloid internship in partnership with Manhattan News

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