Sensa and Intelligent Beauty also have been ordered to pay $105,000 in restitution to California consumers, NBC 7 San Diego reported.
The settlement bars Sensa Products LLC and its parent company Intelligent Beauty Inc. "from making any claims regarding the efficacy or effects of any of its products without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates those claims," according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office. The companies also are prohibited from violating consumer protection laws regulating the automatic enrollment and shipment of products to consumers, and they must include a refund policy that clearly reveals any exclusions, the Alameda County DA's Office said.
"State action is necessary in this area because the Federal government does not regulate the dietary supplement market," said Scott Patton, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, in a statement. "Unlike prescription medication, dietary supplements do not need to be pre-approved by 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."
Sensa Products said the settlement was reached without admitting the allegations and that it "chose to resolve the lawsuit to allow it to focus on continuing efforts in helping people lose weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle."
The company says its product enhances a person's sense of smell, speeding up the process in which a person feels full.
The lawsuit was filed in Santa Cruz County by prosecutors representing the counties of Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma. District attorneys begin investigating the "sprinkle diet" following claims that the product had been clinically proven in the largest clinical study ever conducted, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.