Took the pills but didn't lose weight? Or still came down with a cold? Consumers sometimes get burned by misleading health claims for popular products. But the FDA and its sister agency, the Federal Trade Commission, finally seem to be cracking down. Just take a look at these nine cases.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged POM Wonderful on Sept. 27, 2010 with deceptive advertising for claiming its pomegranate juice and POMx pills "prevent or treat heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction."
The FTC complaint asserts that POM misstated the results of the scientific studies it conducted.
After an FTC request, a U.S. District Court ordered suppliers of acai berry pills to stop their misleading advertising on the Internet in August of this year.
Central Coast Nutraceuticals and four related companies were charged with deceptive advertising for claiming that AcaiPure leads to "fast weight loss that works."
Nestle Boost Kid Essentials
Kellogg's Rice Krispies
Following an FTC investigation into Kellogg's claims that Rice Krispies cereal boosts immunity, the company agreed to new advertising restrictions in June of 2010.
The company may no longer advertise the health benefits of any food unless the claims are scientifically proven.
The FDA warned General Mills that the company's claim that Cheerios will reduce cholesterol by "4 percent in six weeks" constitutes false or misleading promotional claims in a letter dated May 5, 2009.
Credit: General Mills
Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats
After an FTC complaint, Kellogg's agreed on April 20, 2009 to change advertisements for Frosted Mini-Wheats that claimed the cereal was "clinically shown to improve kids' attentiveness by nearly 20 percent."
Airborne Health Inc. agreed to pay up to $30 million to settle an FTC deceptive advertising charge on Aug. 14, 2008.
The Commission said advertisements claiming the product could prevent and treat colds or flu were unsubstantiated.
Credit: Airborne Health Inc.
The FTC announced on Apr. 27, 2009 that suppliers of the "hoodia" dietary supplement used false advertising. Two companies--Nutraceuticals International and Stella Labs - were charged with falsely claiming that their product would reduce appetites and lead to weight loss.
The FDA warned three companies to stop claiming that their mouthwashes prevent gum disease.
The warnings went to Johnson & Johnson (Listerine Total Care Anticavity Mouthwash), CVS Corporation (CVS Complete Care Anticavity Mouthwash), and Walgreen Company (Walgreen Mouth Rinse Full Action). The agency said the sodium fluoride in the products can help prevent cavities but that it had not been shown to remove dental plaque or prevent gum disease.