The Federal Trade Commission has charged Kris Pletschke, doing business as Raw Health, with violating a 2002 FTC order against him by making unsubstantiated claims for two dietary supplements on his Web site, and by failing to provide a complete compliance report as required by that order. Pletschke’s ongoing advertising has included unsubstantiated claims regarding the efficacy of “E3 Essential Algae” and “Parasine2,” including statements that E3 Essential Algae treats or alleviates symptoms associated with a variety of diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and hepatitis, and that Parasine2 treats or alleviates conditions such as chronic fatigue. At the FTC’s request, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a complaint against Pletschke seeking redress for consumers, a civil penalty, and an injunction against further order violations.
Raw Health is a small company specializing in the sale of raw food, digestive enzymes, colonic treatments, and other products that purport to provide various health benefits. The FTC complaint alleges that, despite the previous order against him, Pletschke has made deceptive efficacy claims for dietary supplements, this time for the products E3 Essential Algae and Parasine2. E3 Essential Algae, also known as Aphanizomenon flos-aquae or AFA, is a blue-green algae product that Pletschke claims treats or alleviates symptoms associated with diseases such as AIDS, diabetes, hepatitis, autism, anemia, and Alzheimer’s. Parasine2 is a supplement cocktail that contains a number of ingredients that Pletschke claims will eliminate “organisms associated with hunger cravings, emotional instability, chronic fatigue, and many other symptoms.” The FTC alleges that the defendant has no scientific evidence to support these claims.
In February 2002, the FTC charged Pletschke with making false and unsubstantiated therapeutic claims for his colloidal silver product. According to the FTC, Pletschke’s Web site,
www.rawhealth.net, contained claims that his colloidal silver product could treat or cure 650 different diseases, eliminate all pathogens in the human body in six minutes or less, and was medically proven to kill every destructive bacterial, viral, and fungal organism in the body, including Anthrax, Ebola, Hunta, and flesh-eating bacteria. Under the terms of the 2002 consent order issued to resolve the FTC’s allegations, Pletschke is required to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate any future claims regarding the health benefits, performance, safety, or efficacy of any food, dietary supplement, drug, device, or health-related service or program.
The FTC’s complaint alleges that by making the unsubstantiated claims for E3 Essential Algae and Parasine2, Pletschke has violated the 2002 order. In addition, the previous order requires Pletschke to provide a report to the FTC indicating the actions he is taking to comply with the order. According to the FTC, he has failed to provide the agency with an adequate report.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to refer the complaint to DOJ for filing was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court, Western District of North Carolina, on August 26, 2003.
NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant actually has violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
Copies of the complaint and other related documents pertaining to Kris Pletschke/Raw Health case are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC Docket No. C-4040; Civil Action No. 1:03CV214-T)