BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Recommends Central Coast Nutraceuticals Modify, Discontinue Certain Claims For Colotox

New York, NY – June 3, 2009 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that Central Coast Nutraceuticals modify or discontinue certain advertising claims for the company’s Colotox dietary supplement. NAD did find the company provided reasonable support for claims regarding the product’s laxative properties.

As a part of its ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with NAD’s initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition designed to expand  review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD – the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum – requested substantiation for certain claims in Internet advertisements made for Colotox dietary supplement products.  

NAD requested substantiation for implied claims that suggested the product would help prevent cancer, including:

  • “Colon cancer is currently the second leading cancer killer in the United States, with 60,000 Americans expected to die from the disease this year?
  • “An estimated 150,000 people in America will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer this year, and while progress is being made to prevent and treat the disease, tragically more than 57,000 will die from it?
  • “Colon cancer is one of the deadliest diseases to affect Americans?
  • “The Early Show medical correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports that an average of 57,000 Americans die each year from colon cancer?
  • “When colon cancer is caught late, it is survivable only 8 percent of the time?

NAD also requested substantiation for express claims that:

Colotox will help:

  • Remove toxic buildup
  • Increase your energy levels
  • Cleanse your entire system
  • Decrease gas and bloating
  • Reduce water retention
  • Detoxify your organs
  • Give you radiant hair, skin and nails
  • Bad breath
  • Lose excess weight

Colotox will help relieve:

  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Low energy levels
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Bad Breath
  • Detoxify your organs
  • Excess Weight you just can’t seem to lose

COLOTOX is the “purest and most effective cleansing product on the market today,” the “#1 Product for Cleansing,” and is “America’s #1 Cleansing product.”

As a preliminary matter, NAD noted that when it first commenced this proceeding, NAD was unable to establish contact with the advertiser and, pursuant to NAD’s procedures, referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration.  Following the referral, the advertiser contacted NAD and expressed its desire to participate in the self-regulatory process. Consequently, NAD reopened the inquiry.

At the outset, the advertiser said it would permanently discontinue claims related to cancer to avoid any misperception that Colotox helps prevent colon cancer. The company advised NAD that it had permanently discontinued claims related to the positive impact of detoxification has on the appearance of hair, nails, and skin. The company said it has also permanently discontinued claims that Colotox is the “purest and most effective cleansing product on the market today,” is the “#1 Product for Cleansing,” and is “America’s #1 Cleansing product.” 

In support of its remaining claims, the advertiser said it relied on testing conducted on each of the key ingredients in Colotox, including buckthorn, cascara sagrada, rhubarb, psyllium, fennel, ginger, licorice and goldenseal.

NAD noted, however, that while some claims do refer to ingredients, the advertising overall does not make it clear to consumers that it is the efficacy of the ingredients in Colotox that have been studied, rather than the product itself. NAD recommended the advertiser modify its advertising to clearly communicate that it is the ingredients in Colotox, and not the product itself, that have been shown to provide the claimed benefits.

NAD determined that the advertiser provided evidence to support claims that cascara formulations, psyllium, buckthorn and rhubarb) have laxative properties and concluded that the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for claims that  certain of the ingredients in Colotox can help to “Decrease gas and bloating,” “Reduce water retention,” and help relieve constipation.

NAD determined, however, that the evidence did not support claims that Colotox will “Remove toxic buildup,” “Cleanse your entire system,” or “Detoxify your organs,” and recommended the advertiser discontinue the claims.

NAD also determined that the evidence in the record provided a reasonable basis for claims that the ingredients in Colotox can help “Increase your energy levels,” help relieve “Chronic Fatigue,” “Bloating,” as long as such claims are directly tied to Colotox’ ability to cleanse the colon and relieve constipation. NAD determined that claims that Colotox can help bad breath, must be clearly qualified to disclose that the psyllium in Colotox can help reduce methane and hydrogen gases, which can cause bad breath.

Finally, NAD found the evidence insufficient to support weight-loss claims, but determined the advertiser provided a reasonable basis for claims that ancillary weight loss might result from the product’s laxative properties.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it does not agree with NAD’s determination regarding the “detoxification properties” of Colotox. However, the company said, “CCN will comply with the NAD’s recommendation that it discontinue making claims that Colotox can remove toxins from the body.”

The company noted that it “values and supports industry self-regulation, and we welcome the NAD’s decision regarding advertising for Colotox.”