Supplements, Class Actions, and False Advertising

The Chicago consumer rights lawyers at Markoff Leinberger are watching with interest as a New York court takes up the issue of nutritional supplement labeling in a case that could have far-reaching impact on food-related class action and false advertising case law.

After a product-testing investigation revealed that four large national retailers — Target, WalMart, Walgreens and GNC — were stocking private-label nutritional supplements that failed to accurately list the included ingredients, the New York State Attorney General’s office has ordered those stores to remove the suspect products from shelves.

The cease-and-desist order states that the products in question were tested three to five times each to determine whether their advertised ingredients were the same as their actual ingredients. Scientists used DNA testing to pinpoint the problem, which largely covered supplements that claimed to contain the following eight ingredients:

  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • John’s Wort
  • Ginseng
  • Garlic
  • Echinacea
  • Saw Palmetto, and
  • Valerian root

This case specifically speaks to the advertised ingredients in these products, but it ignores the issue of whether or not the supplements were actually effective at addressing the problems they claimed to address.

That could be deemed fraudulent for consumers, particularly those on restricted diets who may learn that they took supplements from these stores that contained ingredients they were not supposed to consume.

If you believe you may have been victimized by poor food labeling or food advertising practices, please contact Markoff Leinberger online or call our offices directly at 1 (888) 517-9115 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Chicago consumer rights attorneys.


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