FTC Charges Western Botanicals with Unsubstantiated Comfrey Claims

July 16, 2001

2 Min Read
FTC Charges Western Botanicals with Unsubstantiated Comfrey Claims

WASHINGTON--According to a July 13 press release, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged another company with selling comfrey products with unsubstantiated health and safety claims over the Internet. As part of its ongoing "Operation Cure.All," FTC cited Fair Oaks, Calif.-based Western Botanicals Inc. for manufacturing and marketing comfrey-containing products for internal and external use. This is the third time within the last two months that FTC has charged a company with selling comfrey-containing products listing unsubstantiated claims. [For more on the other two cases, conduct a keyword search on this site using "comfrey."]

FTC (www.ftc.gov) charged the company with making unfounded product claims, including statements that its products may aid in chronic bronchial diseases, gastritis, duodenal ulcers, colitis, rheumatism, arthritis, osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis. FTC also took issue with the company saying comfrey products were safe for consumers, including nursing mothers.

The company, its president, Randy Giboney, and vice president, Kyle Christensen, were named in the FTC complaint for marketing and selling these falsely labeled products to distributors, as well as to consumers via mail, newsletters and the Internet. The Commission has ordered the company to notify distributors that the claims are unsubstantiated.

In a stipulated permanent injunction filed in federal court, Western Botanicals (www.westernbotanicals.com) agreed to stop marketing comfrey products for internal use or on open wounds, as well as desist in using the challenged health and safety claims. A warning will now accompany comfrey-containing products meant for external, non-wound use.

The FTC press release also stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Texas Department of Health participated in this case. According to an FTC spokesperson, this year FDA has been particularly involved in substantiating claims compared to past years.

Western Botanicals' site was down on July 16, possibly to correct the site's product claims; the company had not returned calls for comment by press time.

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