Recalls & Warnings
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Posted March 4, 2022
FTC, FDA, and DOJ Take Joint Action Against Herbal Tea Companies for COVID Claims
On March 3, 2022, the FDA, FTC, and DOJ sued a New York-based marketer of herbal tea, in attempts to permanently block deceptive ads that claim Earth Tea is clinically proven to treat, cure, and prevent COVID-19. The FTC is also seeking to impose civil penalties on B4B Earth Tea LLC, B4B Corp., and the owner of both companies, Andrew Martin Sinclair, under the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act.
According to the joint agency complaint, Sinclair and his companies have misrepresented that Earth Tea prevents or treats COVID-19 and falsely claimed to have evidence of its efficacy since at least April of 2020. The products have been sold nationwide through social media with claims such as, “Vaccines trial shows preventing hospitalization is 85%-96% while so far Earth Tea Extra Strength is 100% we have helped people who are vaccinated,” and, when comparing Earth Tea to a vial of vaccine, “Which one is 100% effective with 0 side effects…#COVID19 Trial Report Is The Answer Not What Leaders Want…Compare Both.”
While the defendants claim to have anecdotal evidence from customers to support the claims, there are currently no well-controlled scientific studies or research indicating that Earth Tea can either prevent or treat COVID-19. The joint complaint also states that a study used in marketing claims has a small sample size, no control group, and the results have not been published in a recognized scientific journal, therefore does not provide “competent and reliable scientific evidence” to support the health claims.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, states, “The Department is committed to protecting consumers and enforcing the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act and the FDCA against those who unlawfully market unproven COVID-19 treatments.” The FDA’s Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs and United States Attorney Breon Peace also echoed the important of protecting consumers against unlawful marketing practices.
For more information about related products, see ConsumerLab’s answer to the question: Do any supplements help with the coronavirus (COVID-19)? Do supplements like vitamin D, zinc, vitamin C, or herbals work? and How do the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines compare in terms of efficacy, safety and side effects? How, when and where do I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
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