Natural Foods Merchandiser

Open letter to Tod Cooperman, Consumer Labs

Dear Dr. Cooperman,

While I was reading my copy of The New York Times today, I noticed that you once again could not pass up the opportunity to slam the industry that you have attached yourself and your company to and use to make your living. Given the manner in which you generally promote your company, I was not surprised to see you comment that “We haven’t found any brand with a broad product line that makes every product well” in The Times’ article entitled “What’s Worth Paying For When Buying Vitamins." Though, I will admit that I am somewhat curious how the companies that pay membership fees feel about your suggestion that even they may not be making “every product well."

What was surprising however is that in this article you endorse a couple of “drug store” brand products as well as Puritan’s Pride “a catalog and online retailer”. The Federal Trade Commission recently issued revised Guides concerning the mandatory disclosure of financial relationships between experts who endorse a product and the manufacturer/producer of that product. You can find information the on FTC’s website discussing the new Guides here.

Puritan’s Pride, and I believe at least one of the drug store brands whose products you endorsed, have paid for memberships in your company, These new FTC Guides therefore would seem to require that you disclose the financial relationship between and the products you are endorsing.

Your failure to let the consumers that you claim to be so interested in protecting know that the companies you are endorsing pay at least part of your salary seems to be, at best, a grave oversight.

Marc Ullman

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