A US District Court in Texas has ordered Mark Nutritionals, maker of Body Solutions Evening Weight Loss Formula, to stop making certain claims about its product. The order is in response to a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accusing the company of false advertising.
The FTC said the defendants Harry Siskind and Edward G. D'Alessandro San Antonio, both officers of the Texas-based company, peddled their product using both English and Spanish testimonial endorsements from popular radio djs on more than 650 radio stations around the country. The company promised consumers using its product substantial and permanent weight loss without diet or exercise. They also claimed that users could consume substantial amounts of high calorie foods and still lose weight.
This is the first law enforcement action taken by the FTC since releasing its "Report on Weight-Loss Advertising: An Analysis of Current Trends" and since conducting its workshop on weight loss advertising on November 19. The workshop discussed the impact of deceptive ads on public health and explored new approaches for fighting the proliferation of misleading claims for weight-loss products.
"We intend to maintain an aggressive law enforcement program," said J. Howard Beales, III, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "But to solve this problem, we also need help from responsible members of the media."
Although Mark Nutritionals filed for bankruptcy In September 2002, the company has made more than $190 million in sales of their Body Solutions products since 1999. It disagrees with the FTC's allegation but has since decided to stop making the claims.
The FTC alleges that sales were made mainly through the use of deceptive radio advertisements, read by local radio personalities who purportedly used the product and were presenting their personal experience.
Body Solutions Evening Weight Loss Formula, initially sold only over the Internet, has recently been available from retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, Eckerd's, K-Mart and Walgreen's.
A number of state attorneys general, including Texas and Illinois, conducted joint investigations with the FTC and are filing separate law suits against the defendants in state courts.