FTC Issues $22.5 Million Judgment Against Supplement Companies for Making Weight Loss Claims About Hoodia
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Two supplement companies and the man in charge of operating both of them are the subjects of a lawsuit that was recently settled by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Food Safety News reports that the FTC imposed a $22.5 million judgment against David J. Romeo of Nutraceuticals International LLC and Stella Labs LLC for allegedly making deceptive and false claims about the weight loss benefits of its hoodia products.
Hoodia, also known as Hoodia gordonii, is a type of succulent plant grown in South Africa that is touted by some as beneficial in reducing appetite and facilitating weight loss. But the FTC disagrees, and claims that Romeo and his two companies have been making false and deceptive claims about their hoodia products, some of which allegedly contain little or no actual hoodia.
The complaint, which originated at the FTC, accused the two companies of making false claims about hoodia’s ability to aid in treating obesity, which included a claim that supplementing with it could reduce caloric intake by up to 2,000 calories a day. The FTC also alleged that the two companies were falsely claiming that their products contained hoodia when they actually contained something else instead.
[Editor’s note: NaturalNews was the first to expose the counterfeit hoodia products being sold several years ago. We were viciously attacked by those companies, of course, in the same way we are attacked today for exposing other fraudulent natural health products.]
Romeo has been ordered to forfeit his vacation home in Vermont, and also to hand over to the FTC $635,000 in business loans owed to him by third parties. The FTC has also barred Romeo from making any more deceptive claims about dietary supplements (which is technically just a common requirement that already applies to everyone in the supplement industry).
Craig Payton, principal at Nutraceuticals International, has been banned from ever again marketing foods, drugs, or dietary supplements (does the FTC really have the power to declare this?). Deborah B. Vickery, the company’s marketing executive, was also fined $4 million, but this judgment was suspended due to her inability to pay.
Back in 2008, the FTC launched a campaign called Operation False Cures, the goal of which is to eliminate natural products that are used for treating and curing cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/024246_c…). Meanwhile, the drug industry continues to get away poisoning the public and making false claims about the alleged health benefits of pharmaceuticals.