Announced Actions for Janaury 28, 1997

For Your Information

Consent agreements given final approval: Following a public comment period on each, the Commission has made final consent agreements with the following entities. The Commission action makes the consent orders binding on the respondents.

  • The consent orders with Victoria Bie, doing business as Body Gold, of La Jolla, California, and Universal Merchants, Inc., of Los Angeles, and its president Steven Oscherowitz, settle charges that these respondents made unsubstantiated claims about the weight loss and health benefits of chromium picolinate, a dietary supplement. The consent orders bar the respondents from claiming without competent and reliable scientific substantiation that any food, dietary supplement or drug, among other things, reduces body fat, causes weight loss, increases lean body mass or builds muscle, or controls appetite or craving for sugar. The orders also require the respondents to have scientific substantiation for any claims they make about the performance, benefits or safety of any food, dietary supplement or drug, and bar them from misrepresenting the results of any test or study. Further, they would be prohibited from representing that any testimonial or endorsement represents the typical or ordinary experience of users, unless that can be substantiated or the respondents clearly and prominently disclose either the generally expected experience or the fact that consumers may not experience similar results. (See Nov. 7, 1996 news release for more details regarding these cases; Docket Nos.: Bie--C-3708, Universal--C-3707; Commission votes on Jan. 22 (Bie) and Jan. 23 (Universal) to approve the orders as final were both 5-0). Staff contact for the Bie case is Sohni Bendiks-Perna, Denver Regional Office, 303-844-2272; staff contact for Universal Merchants is Rich Cleland, 202-326-3088.
  • The consent order with Conopco, Inc., doing business as Van Den Bergh Foods Company, a New York City-based subsidiary of Unilever United States, Inc., settles charges that a national advertising campaign for Promise margarine included unsubstan tiated claims that eating Promise margarines and spreads helps reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as false low-fat and low-saturated fat claims. The consent order requires Conopco to have adequate scientific substantiation for claims that any margarine or spread reduces the risk of heart disease, or causes or contributes to a risk factor for any disease or health-related condition. The order also bars the firm from misrepresenting the amount of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol or calories in any spread or margarine. When making nutrient-content claims such as "low fat," the order requires Conopco to follow FDA labeling regulations for the qualifying amount of the nutrient for such claims. Further, the order requires Conopco to disclose clearly and prominently the total grams of fat per serving whenever it makes a claim about the amount of cholesterol in any mar garine or spread that contains a significant amount of fat (as specified in FDA labeling regulations). For three years, ads for Promise margarines or spreads that must include the total fat disclosure also must disclose either the percentage of calories derived from fat or the fact that the product is not low in fat. (See Nov. 7, 1996 news release for more details regarding this case; Docket No. C-3706; Commission vote on Jan. 23 to issue the order as final was 5-0.) Staff contact is Anne V. Maher, 202-326-2987.

Copies of the documents referenced above are available on the FTC’s web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also 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 news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

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