BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Recommends New Nordic Discontinue Certain Claims for Mulberry Zuccarin; Company Agrees To Do So
New York, New York – June 7, 2011 – The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that New Nordic US Inc. modify or discontinue a wide range of advertising claims for the company’s Mulberry Zuccarin dietary supplement product, including claims made in testimonials. The company has agreed to do so.
NAD is the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum. Through NAD’s ongoing monitoring program and in conjunction with its initiative with the Council for Responsible Nutrition to expand NAD’s review of advertising claims for dietary supplements, NAD requested substantiation from New Nordic for advertising claims made in print and Internet advertising, and on package labels, including:
- “In the small town of Alesund in Norway, people have been introduced to a secret about weight loss that made over 1500 of them lose weight.”
- “I went down 6 clothing sizes! … My health food store owner, Johnny, recommended Mulberry Zuccarrin. Very quickly, I felt a decrease in my sugar cravings and an increase of energy. … I tell my friends who want to lose weight to take Mulberry Zuccarin.”
- “Stabilize your blood sugar levels with this new highly concentrated mulberry leaf extract.”
- “Block carbohydrate digestion and regulate your blood sugar with this new unique and highly concentrated mulberry leaf extract.”
- “Mulberry Zuccarin is a natural product, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.”
NAD noted in its decision that health-related advertising claims must typically be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of well-controlled studies, the results of which should translate into a meaningful benefit for consumers and relate directly to the performance promised in the advertising.
(Full text of decision available to media, upon request.)
As a preliminary matter, NAD recommended that the advertiser include a prominent disclosure in all advertising for Mulberry Zuccarin, advising consumers that “Mulberry Zuccarin is not a prescription drug,” and is “not intended to replace medications.”
The advertiser agreed to discontinue the claim, “1500 customers lost weight”, an action which, given the lack of any supporting evidence, NAD deemed both necessary and appropriate.
According to the advertiser, Zuccarin contains a single botanical dietary ingredient, White Mulberry (Morus alba L.) Extract, derived from ground Mulberry leaf and is offered in a tablet dosage of 400 mg per serving. Each tablet dosage contains 1% (4mg) of the bioactive constituent 1-deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), a naturally occurring glucose analogue with a secondary amine group instead of an oxygen atom in the pyranose ring of glucose. The advertiser noted that label recommendations on the product advise consumers to take one to three tablets (400 – 1200 mg) per day.
The advertiser did not conduct any testing on the Mulberry Zuccarin product itself and relied instead on studies conducted on the product’s active ingredient to support its claims.
Following its review, NAD determined that the evidence provided by the advertiser was insufficient to support weight loss claims or claims that the product blocks carbohydrate digestion or stabilizes blood sugar levels. NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue such claims.
NAD found that the advertiser provided sufficient evidence to support the claim that “Mulberry Zuccarin is a natural product, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within normal levels,” when taken at a dosage of 12 mg DNJ before each meal. NAD recommended the advertiser either change its product-use instructions to recommend 3 tablets before each meal or discontinue the claim.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said it would discontinue the advertising in question and include the following disclaimer in future advertising: “Mulberry Zuccarin is not a prescription drug and is not intended to replace medications.”