It's a jungle out there. Unproven claims litter the landscape. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Nutrition Action's publisher, is trying to clean things up. A few recent examples:
* Vizzy Hard Seltzer. "With antioxidant vitamin C from acerola superfruit," say the fruit-adorned labels. The implied message: This alcoholic drink is good for you.
Healthy alcohol is an oxymoron.
Drinking too much increases the risk of some cancers as well as heart disease, liver disease, and injuries.
In March, CSPI urged the FDA to stop Vizzy's claims, which violate the agency's fortification policy against adding vitamins to alcoholic beverages.
* Toddler milks & formulas. "Brain & eye development," says Gerber's Good Start Infant Formula for children aged 9 to 24 months. "Plant-based protein for toddlers."
The multibillion-dollar infant-formula industry is trying to convince parents that children older than 12 months need formula.
The beverages--made largely of fortified powdered soy or dairy milk, oil, and corn syrup solids or maltodextrin--typically supply added sugars. They certainly don't beat a diet of healthy foods.
In July 2020, CSPI and other public health groups petitioned the FDA to write new rules to regulate toddler formulas. And this February, we urged the agency to stop corporate giants from misleading parents by pushing formula for toddlers.
* Joseph Mercola. Since the pandemic began, online salesman Joseph Mercola has been marketing supplements--from vitamins C and D to selenium, zinc, melatonin, elderberry, lipoic acid, probiotics, and more--to prevent or fight Covid-19.
Mercola even told people to intentionally contract the virus after taking those supplements, which his website sells. "Scary as it may sound, the best thing is to get the infection, and have a strong immune system to defend against it," he said.
After CSPI reported Mercola's illegal activity, the FDA warned him to stop marketing certain supplements for Covid-19.
As he grudgingly complied, Mercola claimed to be a victim of conspiracies perpetuated by Bill Gates and other billionaires.
* Fertility supplements. In 2019, CSPI urged the FDA to crack down on 27 companies that were using names like FertilHerb for Women or Conception to market supplements that were illegally masquerading as infertility treatments.
This May, the agency finally warned five companies to stop making those or other claims. Hopefully, the feds will also go after the other fertility supplements that offer false hope to often-desperate women and men.
Large or small, some companies can't resist trying to make a buck off of unsuspecting consumers. Rest assured, we'll do our best to call out--and stop--their misleading claims.
Peter G. Lurie, MD, MPH, President Center for Science in the Public Interest
Caption: Vitamin C doesn't make alcohol healthy.