At this year’s NBJ Summit, much discussion centered on the need for industry self-policing to ferret out the bad actors—those companies making illegal product or marketing claims or selling intentionally adulterated products—so responsible companies can continue operating as is and without the need for additional government oversight. The Council for Responsible Nutrition’s (CRN) initiative with the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to monitor and take action against unsubstantiated dietary supplement advertising is one program helping to achieve this goal.
On August 10, NAD reported that it had referred advertising for the weight-loss product SlimForce 7 to U.S. and Canadian regulatory agencies. In reviewing SlimForce 7’s advertising claims, NAD took issue with numerous statements being made for the product, including: “You can lose up to 1 pound in 8 hours,” “You just need to take 1 capsule a day at breakfast to lose as many pounds as you want,” and “You just don’t lose weight, your whole metabolism is gradually modified.”
NAD tried to contact SlimForce 7 via the 800 number and Website listed for ordering the product and sent a letter to the company’s postal address in Ontario, Canada, but never received a response. (Nutrition Business Journal had a similar experience recently when trying to contact a number of weight-loss supplement companies for our upcoming Sports Nutrition & Weight-Loss issue.)
In a press release, NAD noted that it was particularly troubled by the company’s failure to respond given that the print advertising in question appeared as a full-color, two-page spread in TV Guide and made weight-loss claims that have been found by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to lack scientific support.
NAD said it will refer the matter to the FTC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Competition Bureau of Canada, where the SlimForce 7 company appears to be based.
NBJ’s 2009 Sports Nutrition & Weight-Loss issue, which publishes in September, will include a feature exploring the weight-loss supplement category and the potential silver lining behind the recent Hydroxycut recall. To order a copy of the issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free 32-page sample issue, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.