Marin County was one of nine California counties that won a $900,000 false advertising settlement against a company accused of misleading customers with promises that they could lose weight by sprinkling crystals on their food.
The case against Sensa Products, LLC and its parent corporation Intelligent Beauty Inc. revolved around the company's "sprinkle diet" product, called "Tastants," flavored crystals sold nationally that the product makers promised would help people who sprinkled them on food lose weight, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said that the lawsuit, brought by Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian and eight other Bay Area counties, was necessary because the federal government does not regulate the dietary supplement market.
"Unlike prescription medication, dietary supplements do not need to be pre-approved by the FDA before they can be sold to consumers. A dietary supplement can be sold in the United States without prior government approval or proof that it is either safe or effective for its intended use," O'Malley said.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, the product became the subject of a Statewide Nutritional Supplement Task Force investigation after it made claims that its weight loss effects had been clinically proven in the "largest clinical study" ever conducted.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, an independent expert concluded that the study did not meet scientific or competency standards.
As part of the settlement, Sensa and Intelligent Beauty are permanently prohibited from making claims about the effectiveness of their product without first having verifiable, reliable scientific evidence.
The companies are also forbidden from continuing to charge customers for shipments they sent customers who had requested that their orders be cancelled and from enrolling customers in an automatic shipping program without letting customers know about their obligations to the
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Cruz County by the district attorneys for the counties of Santa Cruz, Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.
--Bay City News Service