National Advertising Division (NAD)

NAD Refers Vitamin Bounty to FDA and FTC for Claims that Elderberry Immune Support Protects Against COVID-19

For Immediate Release 

Contact: Abby Hills, Director of Communications, BBB National Programs 

703.247.9330 / press@bbbnp.org 

 

New York, NY – August 19, 2020 – The National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs has referred advertising claims made by Vitamin Bounty/Matherson Organics, LLC ("Vitamin Bounty") for its Elderberry Immune Support to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for review. The advertiser did not respond to NAD’s request to provide substantiation for its claims. 

 

Through its routine monitoring program, NAD challenged Vitamin Bounty's Instagram post for Elderberry Immune Support with the text:  

  • “[a]s restrictions are gradually lifting, it’s more important than ever to keep your immune system strong. Our Elderberry Immune Support keeps you protected with vitamin C, zinc, elderberries, garlic and echinacea; a powerful immune-boosting combo.” 


NAD determined that this post conveyed the implied message that Elderberry Immune Support protects users against COVID-19. 

NAD noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA have both stated that there are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19. Both the FDA and FTC have issued dozens of warning letters to companies making claims about their products’ ability to treat or prevent COVID-19. Health and safety concerns are a top priority for NAD’s monitoring efforts, with particular attention currently focused on advertising for dietary supplements and other products claiming to treat COVID-19. 

NAD was disappointed that the advertiser did not participate in the self-regulatory process, despite repeated outreach attempts. In light of the advertiser’s failure to provide a substantive response to NAD’s request for substantiation for its claims, NAD has referred the matter to the FDA and FTC for possible enforcement action. 

 

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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 National Advertising Division: The National Advertising Division (NAD), a division of BBB National Programs, provides independent self-regulation and dispute resolution services, guiding the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S. NAD reviews national advertising in all media and its decisions set consistent standards for advertising truth and accuracy, delivering meaningful protection to consumers and leveling the playing field for business.