For release on February 2, 2011 CONTACT:
Yen Dang, Deputy District Attorney
Consumer Protection Unit
DIET SUPPLEMENT DISTRIBUTOR TO PAY $2.65 MILLION FOR FALSE ADVERTISING AND FAILURE TO DISCLOSE LEAD CONTENT
Dietary supplement distributor Irwin Naturals, Inc., has agreed to pay a total of $2.65 million in costs, civil penalties and restitution in the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the district attorney’s offices in Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin, Napa, Solano, Sonoma, Monterey, and Shasta counties. It is the largest multi-jurisdictional dietary supplement settlement of its kind in California history.
Irwin Naturals, Inc. markets and sells dietary supplement products via direct sales and through retail channels. The lawsuit accused Irwin of making false and misleading representations in connection with the marketing and sale of certain products, including Dual Action Cleanse, Fast Action Hoodia Diet, and the 10 Day Hoodia Diet. Testing revealed that the Hoodia products did not contain any Hoodia gordonii.
In addition, laboratory tests revealed that certain lots of several Irwin products, Green Tea Fat Metabolizer and Green Tea Fat Burner, contained over 0.5 micrograms of lead but did not bear warning labels, in violation of state law. Irwin has reformulated the products, and will include warning information for all products sold in California which contain specific lead levels.
Irwin agreed to be bound by an injunction but did not admit fault or liability. Irwin will pay restitution to consumers who filed documented complaints with Irwin, the Better Business Bureau, the California Attorney General or any of the prosecuting district attorney’s offices between July 1, 2006 and February 1, 2011 who have not already received refunds.