Supplements brand pleads guilty, agrees to $4.5 million forfeiture

Per the plea agreement, the products sold by 5 Star Nutrition contained ingredients mislabeled as dietary ingredients or not declared on the product label, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

January 16, 2024

2 Min Read

A supplements brand in Austin, Texas, pleaded guilty last week to distributing misbranded products and agreed to a $4.5 million forfeiture.

The products distributed by Defyned Brands, also known as 5 Star Nutrition, were marketed as workout supplements and sold at 5 Star retail locations, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a Jan. 12 news release.

Per the plea agreement in U.S. District Court, the products contained ingredients mislabeled as dietary ingredients or not declared on the product label, according to the release. 5 Star Nutrition admitted that from September 2018 to July 2020 it delivered misbranded supplements into interstate commerce, DOJ said.

Count 1 of the charging document alleged that 5 Star Nutrition shipped from Hutchins, Texas, to Hanover, Maryland, a product (Epivar) whose labeling was false because it declared on its label a non-dietary ingredient (3b-hydroxy-androstane-17-one) to be a dietary ingredient.

In a separate incident, 5 Star Nutrition shipped a product labeled as a dietary supplement called Alpha Shredded from Texas to Offutt, Nebraska, according to the charging document. The charging document described the labeling of the product as “false and misleading because Alpha Shredded declared on its label 1-4 OHP17beta-[{]-Keoethyl) androsta-1, 4-diene-3-one, 17a-ol, a non-dietary ingredient, to be a dietary ingredient.”

5 Star Nutrition also delivered a product from Texas to Aurora, Colorado, called Laxobolic that was labeled as a dietary supplement and misbranded as well, the government alleged. The “labeling was false and misleading because Laxobolic contained Diosgenin, an ingredient that was not declared on the label, and the label of Laxobolic declared 5-alpha-hydroxy-laxogenin, a non-dietary ingredient, to be a dietary ingredient,” according to the charging document.

“For almost two years, the defendant in this case misinformed consumers with inaccurate labeling on dietary supplements,” U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas said in the press release. “By requiring this company to forfeit its profits from this practice, we hope to reaffirm the public’s confidence in the safety of the products they purchase.”

As of publication of this article, 5 Star Nutrition and a lawyer representing the company did not return emails seeking comment.

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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