BBB National Programs Archive

Garden Of Life Participates In ERSP Forum

New York, NY – April 2, 2008 – The Electronic Retailing  Self-Regulation  Program (ERSP) has determined  that Garden  of Life,  Inc. has adequately  qualified  certain  claims made  for its  Fucothin  dietary  supplement.  The marketer  has  voluntarily  agreed to modify other  claims.  The marketer’s  advertising  came to ERSP’s  attention  pursuant to an anonymous competitive inquiry.

Separately,  ERSP  noted that  Garden of  Life,  following the  completion  of  the ERSP inquiry,  issued  a press release  regarding  the outcome of  the  case,  in violation  of ERSP   procedures.  The  company  has  issued  a  retraction  and  apologized  for  the violation.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s  self-regulatory  forum, is  administered by   the  Council  of   Better  Business  Bureaus  (CBBB)  with  policy  oversight  by   the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

ERSP’s  inquiry  focused on claims  included  in both  print  advertising  and the product Website. Claims at issue in the ERSP  inquiry included:

  •             “Non-stimulant-   Unlike  ephedra  or  caffeine,   FucoTHIN burns   fat   without stimulating  the  central  nervous  system  –  no  nervousness,  jitters,  or  lost sleep”
  •             “Dual Action  Formula – FucoTHIN burns  fat  while providing  antioxidant  cellular protection”
  •             “Burns  Belly  Fat   –   FucoTHIN has   been   clinically  proven   to   specifically metabolize visceral fat, more commonly referred to as belly fat.”
  •             “Patent  Pending  – FucoTHIN contains  the original  patent pending  fucoxanthin formula used in clinical research.”
  •             “Fastest Selling Weight Management Product in America.”

During the  course  of  the ERSP  review,  the marketer indicated  to ERSP  that it  was in the process of  voluntarily  revising its  advertising  and had begun steps to bring its advertising into compliance with ERSP’s recommendations.

Following its review of  the evidence, ERSP  determined that the marketer provided a reasonable basis for the general performance claims that state the product is a “Non- stimulant  – Unlike ephedra or caffeine,  FucoTHIN burns  fat  without  stimulating  the central  nervous system – no nervousness,  jitters,  or lost  sleep”  and  “Dual Action Formula – FucoTHIN burns  fat while providing antioxidant cellular protection”.

ERSP  noted that the marketer presented two clinical studies conducted on humans which demonstrated results.  However, because  ERSP  determined  the evidence  didnot  rise  to  the  level  of   support  necessary  to  substantiate  the  claim  “clinically proven,” the marketer voluntarily revised the claim to refer to “clinical results.”

ERSP determined      that      the       marketer          provided          a          reasonable       basis    for       the establishment claim that “FucoTHIN contains the original patent pending fucoxanthin formula  used  in  clinical research.”  However,  ERSP   concluded  that the marketer’s evidence  did  not adequately  support the superiority  claims  in the  context  in which they were presented.

The company,  in its advertiser’s statement said it has voluntarily modified its claims.