National Advertising Division Recommends Dakota Nutrition Discontinue Claims that Dietary Supplements Contain Elderberry

For Immediate Release
Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org 

New York, NY – June 29, 2022 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs recommended that Dakota Nutrition, Inc. discontinue challenged express and implied claims that its dietary supplements contain the ingredient elderberry. This recommendation applies to marketing claims for three products: Extra Strength Elderberry 3-in-1 Immune Booster Capsules, Extra Strength Elderberry Gummies, and Immune Defense 7-in-1 Immune Booster Capsules. 

The claims, which appeared on Dakota’s website, Amazon product pages, and on product labels were challenged by Nature’s Way Brands, LLC. NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the challenged claims, which included:

  • “elderberry capsules”
  • “elderberry gummies”
  • “black elderberry extract (150mg)”
  • “150mg elderberry per serving”
  • “150mg of Black Elderberry”
  • “150mg of Sambucus Nigra Extract”
  • “elderberries are very high in antioxidants”
  • “extra strength antioxidant”
  • Elderberries are present in Dakota Nutrition’s products at advertised dosages.

 

Consumer demand for elderberry, which has a long history of use as a cold and flu remedy, has increased since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. European elderberry (“Sambucus Nigra”) is an ingredient native to Europe and is distinguished from American elderberry (“Sambucus Canadensis”) based on its anthocyanin profile. 

NAD considered the evidence provided by the advertiser in support of its claims relating to the presence and quantity of elderberry in its products. NAD determined that Dakota did not have a reasonable basis for the challenged claims that its Elderberry Capsules, Elderberry Gummies, or Immune Capsules contain elderberry. In addition, NAD noted that Dakota did not submit any support for the claims that elderberries are antioxidants or that they contain certain amounts of antioxidants.

Further, NAD determined that the word “elderberry” in the challenged product names, Elderberry Capsules and Elderberry Gummies, is an express claim that the products contain meaningful amounts of the named ingredient. However, the advertiser’s evidence did not provide a reasonable basis for claims related to the presence of elderberry in these products. Accordingly, NAD recommended that Dakota discontinue the use of the term elderberry in the name of its Elderberry Capsules and Elderberry Gummies.

During the proceeding, the advertiser informed NAD that it had permanently discontinued several challenged disease treatment and prevention claims. Therefore, NAD did not review these claims on the merits. 

In its advertiser statement, Dakota stated that it “agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations,” although it “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s rejection of raw material testing” of botanical ingredients, which it believes “should be sufficient to satisfy NAD standards.” The advertiser further stated that it “supports the self-regulatory process and will abide by NAD recommendations in future advertising.”

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For the full text of NAD, NARB, and CARU decisions, subscribe to the online archive.

 

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