Man in violation of privacy law

Breaking news and expert analysis on legal and compliance issues

[Back To Home][Back To Archives]

From Antitrust Law Daily, July 15, 2014

Cactus juice marketer settles FTC charges of misleading health benefit claims

By Linda O’Brien, J.D., LL.M.

The marketers of a cactus-based fruit drink have agreed to provide $3.5 million for consumer refunds in order to settle FTC charges that they deceived consumers with unfounded claims that their drink, Nopalea, would treat a variety of health problems, the FTC announced today. TriVita, Inc. markets 32-ounce bottles of the “prickly pear” fruit drink, derived from the Nopal cactus, for up to $39.99 plus shipping and handling.

In its complaint (FTC v.TriVita, Inc., File No. 132-3185), the FTC alleges that advertisements on the defendants’ websites advertised that the drink would provide inflammation relief without a prescription. The defendants’ infomercials, featuring celebrity endorser Cheryl Tiegs, marketed Nopalea as an “anti-inflammatory wellness drink” that relieves pain, reduces and relieves joint and muscle swelling, improves breathing and alleviates respiratory problems, and relieves skin conditions. TriVita’s former Chief Science Officer linked inflammation to allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes. He noted in one of the infomercials that “over 200 articles published and archived at the National Institutes of Health demonstrate one thing: the Nopal cactus will reduce inflammation.” The infomercials also featured testimonials by satisfied consumers who were actually paid employees of defendants, according to the complaint.

Under the proposed settlement order, the defendants are barred from making the health claims alleged in the complaint when marketing Nopalea or any food, drug, or dietary supplement without randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical tests conducted by qualified researchers; making any health claims without competent and reliable scientific evidence; misrepresenting that health benefits are clinically proven when they are not; and failing to disclose any material connection between endorsers of their products and themselves.

The FTC filed the complaint and proposed stipulated final order in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on July 10, 2014.

“These kinds of unfounded claims are unacceptable, particularly when they impact consumers’ health,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Advertisers who cannot back up their claims with competent and reliable scientific evidence are violating the law.”

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and approving the proposed settlement order was 5-0.

Companies: TriVita, Inc.

MainStory: TopStory ConsumerProtection FederalTradeCommissionNews

Antitrust Law Daily

Introducing Wolters Kluwer Antitrust Law Daily — a daily reporting service created by attorneys, for attorneys — providing same-day coverage of breaking news, court decisions, legislation, and regulatory activity.


A complete daily report of the news that affects your world

  • View full summaries of federal and state court decisions.
  • Access full text of legislative and regulatory developments.
  • Customize your daily email by topic and/or jurisdiction.
  • Search archives for stories of interest.

Not just news — the right news

  • Get expert analysis written by subject matter specialists—created by attorneys for attorneys.
  • Track law firms and organizations in the headlines with our new “Who’s in the News” feature.
  • Promote your firm with our new reprint policy.

24/7 access for a 24/7 world

  • Forward information with special copyright permissions, encouraging collaboration between counsel and colleagues.
  • Save time with mobile apps for your BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle.
  • Access all links from any mobile device without being prompted for user name and password.