The Federal Trade Commission has given final approval to a consent agreement with National Dietary Research, Inc. (NDR), The William H. Morris Company, and their owner, William H. Morris, settling charges that they made false and unsubstantiated claims for two products: Food Source One, a purported weight-loss and cholesterol-reducing product; and Vancol 5000, a purported cholesterol-reducing product. The Commission's action makes the consent order provisions binding on the respondents.
NDR and The William H. Morris Company are both based in Tampa, Florida.
Under the final order, the respondents are required to pay $100,000 to the FTC to be used for consumer refunds if practical, or to be deposited in the U.S. Treasury. The order prohibits the respondents from making claims about weight loss, hunger reduc- tion, calorie absorption, cholesterol reduction, effects on cellulite or body measurements, or any other health benefits of any product or program they advertise or sell, unless they can substantiate the claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The order also prohibits the respondents from making any false claims about: test results; the amount of fiber or other dietary constituent in any product or program; a product being a high or rich source of fiber or other dietary constituent; or the activities of NDR or any other affiliated organization.
In addition, the order prohibits the respondents from representing that any advertisement is something other than a paid ad, and from claiming that an endorsement is typical of the experience of consumers who use the product, unless that claim is substantiated. The order does allow the respondents to use a truthful, non-typical testimonial, if they clearly and prominently disclose, in close proximity to the testimonial, what the generally expected performance would be in the depicted circumstances, or that consumers should not expect to experience similar results. The order further allows the respondents to use certain claims that are approved for labels by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Commission's complaint stating its charges against NDR was issued in November 1993. The consent agreement was announced for public comment on May 4, 1995, and issued in final form on Nov. 7. The Commission vote on final issuance was 5-0.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $10,000.
A news release summarizing the complaint and consent agreement was issued at the time the Commission accepted the consent agreement for public comment. Copies of that release and of the complaint and final order are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest FTC news as it is announced, call the FTC's NewsPhone recording at 202- 326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov
(FTC Docket No. 9263)