WASHINGTON—The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) launched a new members-only web-based tool that compiles all FTC advertising enforcement actions related to dietary supplements and functional foods.
“We developed this tool as a service to our member companies so they have a one-stop location to review the kinds of claims that have led to FTC investigations, consent degrees and punitive financial settlements," CRN president and CEO Steve Mister said. “Companies can study these cases, look at examples of language that put others under FTC scrutiny for enforcement, and then avoid using such language in their own advertising."
Mister said there are appropriate and legal ways to market dietary supplements, such as ones for weight loss and functional foods, but there are certain claims that raise red flags with the FTC. Advertising claims for weight loss supplement products feed the FTC with the highest settlement costs within the dietary supplement and functional food category.
CRN’s searchable compilation indicates that the weight loss category generated the highest settlement costs at $438.4 million, and immunity claims came next in line with settlements of $47.2 million. Impermissible cancer claims came at a distant, but relevant, third place, with claims settlements of $5 million.
“We’re now also starting to see enforcement trends in anti-aging claims and claims addressing diabetes," Mister said. “The data illustrates how active FTC has been in recent years and should be a warning to all companies that the agency will move aggressively to remove claims that it believes mislead consumers."