Corporate Greed and Taking Advantage of Kids

December 2010, Warren Matthews

Summary

I really get annoyed when big corporates tell lies and use Disney characters to appeal to kids and then don't deliver what they claim and parents think that their children are getting benefits, when in reality they are not.

I really get annoyed when big corporates tell lies and use Disney characters to appeal to kids and then don't deliver what they claim and parents think that their children are getting benefits, when in reality they are not.

NBTY Inc is a big corporate producing and marketing products under many well-known names. In fact it is impressive just how many they do make... over 22,000 products. You can see the household brands that they produce by visiting their website.

They have just been forced by the FTC to reimburse consumers US$2.1M for their 'DHA' based Disney supplements including 'Gummy bears', 'Winnie the Poop', Cinderella and so on.

The main point of the FTC complaint was that they are stating that they have 100mgs of DHA where in fact the products in question only contained 0.1mgs, or 1/1000th of what they were claiming.

When NMTY Inc responded to questions about the settlement they said, and I quote:

"This resolution reaffirms our commitment to labelling transparency and adherence to the highest standards of regulatory compliance. It also allows us to continue to focus on providing high-quality nutritional supplements that help improve health and quality of life for millions of customers nationwide."

Not sure I understand that statement?? Transparency? There is NO excuse for a product to only contain 1/1000th of the label claim. Tolerances on the product spec should be within + or – 5% for actives in most ingredients and perhaps for some in which the actives may have seasonal variances it may be as much as + or – 10%. Some ingredients such as some of the vitamins which degrade over time and enzymes should have a plus age over and above the label claims to take this into account. This is what we do with all products.

Bear in mind that these variances are only for the active component of the ingredient, not the entire ingredient. For example, the active may only be 10% of the ingredient so a 5% variant of the active would only be 0.5% of the total ingredient. The tolerances for the amount of ingredient are much tighter.

In the case of the NMTY situation to end up with just 1/1000th of the amount, it could only have been done deliberately to save money or there is something seriously wrong with their manufacturing process which casts a negative light over their other products which does indeed impact on millions of consumers.

With regard to DHA for children parents would be much better advised to use the real thing... in other words genuine Omega 3 DHA/fish oil such as we produce. It doesn't have the colorants and the other sweeteners such as those found in chewables. Early next year we will be producing soft gels of half the size (500mgs) to cater for those children who find the current size too big.

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