Liverite Settles with FTC Over Unsubstantiated Health Claims

August 22, 2001

2 Min Read
Liverite Settles with FTC Over Unsubstantiated Health Claims

WASHINGTON--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced in a release Aug. 21 that Tustin, Calif.-based Liverite Products Inc. has agreed to settle with the agency regarding unsubstantiated claims. FTC alleged Liverite made the claims about its products treating such conditions as cirrhosis and hepatitis. The products contain liver hydrolysate (which contains 16 amino acids), as well as multiple vitamins and minerals. They are sold in such retail stores as GNC and CVS, by telephone and over the Internet.

According to FTC, the company and its principals, Corinne and Steven Jacobson, will be required to pay $60,000 in redress, have scientific substantiation in order to back its claims and can no longer use the term "the ultimate liver aid" on its products or promotional materials. The company had claimed that its products could, among other things, prevent and treat hangovers, prevent and treat alcohol-induced liver disease and prevent and alleviate the toxic side effects of various drugs. The products under question include Liverite, the Ultimate Liver Aid, Liverite 3 in 1 for Men and Liverite 3 in 1 for Women.

"We need to still determine if consumers need the redress, and if that is not practical, the monies would go toward consumer education," stated an FTC spokesperson who worked on the settlement. Anything left over from the redress and education would then go to the U.S. Treasury.

In addition, James and Sheri Grant, who run the Liverite Web sites (, and, were named in the suit. The sites "deceived" consumers, FTC reported, by using terms in meta-tags that were linked to the company's unsubstantiated claims. For example, if a person were to type "hangover," "liver problems," or "AIDS" into a search engine, that person would be led to the Liverite sites. The Grants were not ordered to pay redress, but they do need to revamp the Web sites to be in compliance with FTC's requirements.

In a member e-mail, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) warned its members that using terms that are classified as disease claims in metatags could put a company and its products at risk. "This practice could be viewed by the FTC as an unfair or deceptive act or practice, even if the terms are invisibly embedded into the source code of a Web page," the e-mail stated.

According to a statement released by Liverite, the company reached an agreement with FTC to use the following claims: Liverite is a liver aid; Liverite is for liver support; and Liverite cleanses the liver from impurities in the diet and environment.

In regard to FTC's requirement that science needs to back its claims, Liverite is currently conducting double blind clinical studies. In the meantime, Corinne Jacobson stated that it would be a few months until products with new packaging (using the term "The Liver Aid" rather than "The Ultimate Liver Aid) and readjusted claims would hit store shelves.

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