Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council Recommends RootWellness Discontinue Certain Health-Related Product Performance Claims

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

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org

McLean, VA – September 23, 2021 – The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC) of BBB National Programs recommended that certain product performance claims made by Root Wellness, LLC, a direct selling company that markets and distributes health and wellness nutritional supplement products, and its salesforce be discontinued. 

The inquiry was commenced by DSSRC through its ongoing independent monitoring of advertising and marketing claims in the direct selling industry. The claims that were the subject of the inquiry were disseminated by Root Wellness on the company website and by salesforce members on social media. 

Product Claims include, but are not limited to:

  • “ROOT Testimonial Tuesday -- Fatty Liver, Psoriasis, Childhood ADHD, Chronic Fatigue”
  • “Our Autism Journey - Non-verbal no longer! Hi! My son Michael turned 14 in January 2021. He had been completely non verbal since he was about 15 months old. Stephanie reached out to me and invited me to a zoom call, to discuss a heavy metals detox product (Clean Slate). I was impressed by everything I heard on the call, so I gave it a try. Within 10 days my son was sleeping through the night (something he had never done). He was taking naps during the day too, on some days. By the end of the 3rd week, he started mumbling consonants : the first ones I noticed were g, b and m. With some practice, he could say his name, (Michael), Koko, come, go, about half of the letters of the alphabet. With colours, numbers and letters of the alphabet, it was obvious that he had been learning things all these years, but just couldn't express himself. We are about 3 months in with Clean Slate now, his skin is clear (he had some recurring patches), he is calm and confident and is gaining new words. We are so happy about the progress he is making and sooooo excited for the future!!!”
  • “Once you’re on your Maximum then you’re going to notice it And then you will see the results in the blood results too…Fibromyalgia Rheuma Arthritis Psoriasis Eczema Darmon Disorders and Still a lot more can be treated with it”
  • “My favorite ‘side effects’ of this product: Morning fog has been lifted, Belly bloat has been blasted, AND long time stubborn nail fungus? Dissolving, as if by magic! These two products truly support the quest for an EMPOWERED lifestyle!!! – Olenka C.” https://therootbrands.com/reviews
  • “My 79 year old husband was showing signs of dementia and had given up playing the trumpet, his difficulty in speaking clearly and finding the right words had become more pronounced. He started both products in March and is back to daily trumpet practice. His speech is slowly improving and while he still has difficulties, he is holding longer conversations. He had avoided speaking except to family and close friends so this is a great sign. Also, he is back to his Painting and his Astrological pursuits. I take both products and tell my friends 82 is the new 62 but truly feel my energy and focus is like being back in my fifties. – Joy H. https://therootbrands.com/reviews
  • “I was introduced to Clean Slate several months ago and I am noticing some of my autoimmune symptoms are subsiding, my skin is amazing and those pesky sugar cravings are gone. I am pleasantly surprised and can’t wait to see what happens in another 3 months!” https://therootbrands.com/reviews

 

As noted in previous DSSRC cases, health-related claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence, as defined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). DSSRC informed Root Wellness of its concern that these product claims may convey unsubstantiated health-related and wellness benefits. 

According to Root Wellness, the company provides three products: Clean Slate, Zero-In, and Restore. In response to DSSRC’s inquiry, Root Wellness provided extensive research and academic studies that they contended supported the challenged claims. 

Although the Company maintained that the studies provided demonstrated that several individual ingredients contained in Root Wellness’ Clean Slate and Zero-In products could be beneficial at removing certain heavy metals and toxins from the body, DSSRC concluded that the studies did not provide the necessary evidence to show that using the Root Wellness products as directed would result in relieving or diminishing the specific health-related conditions referenced in the challenged claims, such as psoriasis, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, chronic fatigue, fatty liver disease (Hepatic Steatosis), fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.

When a direct selling company and/or its salesforce members disseminate claims that its product is effective at protecting consumers from specific health-related conditions, it is imperative that the company provide reliable and competent testing indicating that the products are efficacious against those stated conditions. Because Root Wellness is unable to provide such substantiation, DSSRC recommended that Root Wellness remove the challenged social media posts. 

Though Root Wellness did remove the challenged testimonials on the company website, it argued that because they did not authorize the claims disseminated by salesforce members on social media they were not responsible for the posts. As DSSRC has noted in past inquiries, the fact that certain social media posts are not authorized by the company does not absolve the company from any responsibility regarding the posts. 

Though Root Wellness began the self-regulatory inquiry by participating in the process, DSSRC failed to receive any indication from Root Wellness that they were making a good faith effort to contact the independent salesforce members who disseminated the posts or took any enforcement measures to reconcile the matter. DSSRC has requested that Root Wellness take immediate action to disable the challenged health-related social media posts at issue, that remain publicly available. 

All BBB National Programs case decision summaries can be found in the case decision library. For full text of DSSRC decisions, visit the DSSRC Cases and Closures webpage.

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About BBB National Programs: BBB National Programs is where businesses turn to enhance consumer trust and consumers are heard. The non-profit organization creates a fairer playing field for businesses and a better experience for consumers through the development and delivery of effective third-party accountability and dispute resolution programs. Embracing its role as an independent organization since the restructuring of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in June 2019, BBB National Programs today oversees more than a dozen leading national industry self-regulation programs, and continues to evolve its work and grow its impact by providing business guidance and fostering best practices in arenas such as advertising, child-directed marketing, and privacy. To learn more, visit bbbprograms.org.

About the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council: The Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DSSRC), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent, impartial monitoring, dispute resolution, and enforcement of false product claims and income representations made by direct selling companies and their salesforce members across digital platforms. The DSSRC seeks to establish high standards of integrity and business ethics for all direct selling companies in the marketplace.